NEWTOWN, CT —Yvonne Cech, current Library Director of the Brookfield Library and former Library Media Specialist of Sandy Hook Elementary School, is one of two Librarians who were chosen as the recipients of the 2018 Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, according to Cheryl Malden, Program Officer with the American Library Association.
Diana Haneski, Library Media Specialist at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, along with Cech will both be presented with a cash prize an award at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, LA., Malden said in a statement.
The ALA explains the origins of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity in the following manner: “It is of the opinion of Lemony Snicket, author, reader, and alleged malcontent, that librarians have suffered enough. Therefore he is establishing an annual prize honoring a librarian who has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact. The prize will be a generous amount of cash from Mr. Snicket’s disreputable gains, along with an odd, symbolic object from his private stash, and a certificate, which may or may not be suitable for framing. It is Mr. Snicket’s hope, and the ALA’s, that the Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them.”
The adversity Cech met was on that horrific December day five years ago, on December 14, 2012, when a lone gunman shot his way through the doors of Sandy Hook Elementary School taking the lives of 26 students and educators. According to a release, Cech saved 18 fourth grade children on that day by hiding them in a storage closet, locking the door and barricading it with book trucks and other objects until the SWAT team arrived. Cech would not open the door until she verified the officers’ identity.
Similarly, five years later, during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL, Haneski shielded 50 high school students and five adults from harm in a barricaded equipment room. She also refused to open the door until she was sure that the rescuers were who they claimed to be, the statement said.
Cech is now a Librarian at the Brookfield Public Library where she, her bio says, specializes in children’s literature but also loves adult nonfiction books about history. Cech lives in Danbury, received her Master’s in Library Science from Florida State University and holds a Teaching Certification from Southern Connecticut State University, with undergrad degrees from Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and SUNY Oswego.