The Friends of the Homer Library last month announced the recipients of its annual Lifelong Learner Awards, according to a press release. New for this year, they also announced a new award, the Sue Gibson Community Achievement Award. The Lifelong Learner awards honor people who prioritize learning and have a passion for sharing their knowledge with others. The Sue Gibson award recognizes individuals who have invested in, and/or created an institution that empowers learning, reflection and creativity. It is named in remembrance of the dedication of Sue Gibson to the library. It is not an annual award, and is given only in cases of exceptional achievement.
The Celebration of Lifelong Learning will be held 7 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Homer Public Library. The evening will include appetizers by Chef Maura Brenin, desserts by Red Bird Kitchen, live music by Eric Fenger, sponsorships for youth participants of Summer@HPL, and the Trivia Tree. New for this year, the National Center on Women in Technology will honor recipients of the Girls Get IT! Youth Aspiration Awards. Tickets are on sale at the library for $35.
For the 2020 awards, the recipients are:
• Lifelong Learner: Janet Klein
• Youth Learner: Anthony Melkomukov
• Sue Gibson Community Achievement Award: Dana Stabenow.
Klein is a celebrated historian who has documented the history of Kachemak Bay. Ruth Dickerson, who was among a team of six who nominated her, writes, “Janet Klein has been a source of continuing inspiration to our community with her unrelenting curiosity and scholarship on all things historical and cultural regarding Kachemak Bay. Her work is based on both experiential fieldwork and excellent and thorough academic research. She provides us with the most thorough documentation of the Kachemak Tradition native culture available.”
Klein has written seven books, numerous professional papers, and countless magazine articles. In addition to her publications, she has shared her wealth of knowledge with local institutions such as Pratt Museum, Kachemak Bay State Advisory Council, and as an advisor to the Kachemak Bay Water Trail Committee, among others.
“Because of Klein, we have a clearer understanding of the history of our region, and how we came to be here,” said Friends of the Homer Library coordinator Mercedes Harness.
The Youth Learner Award goes to Anthony Melkomukov, a senior at Homer High School. He is a member of the Drama, Debate, and Forensics team, served as a lab technician for the chemistry teacher Matt Stineff, and has participated in the high school swim team.
Stineff writes of Melkomukov: “Everything he does in school he does for his love of education and personal understanding, not because someone else guided him towards reaching these goals. His amazing wonder and need for knowledge truly sets him apart from almost all others.”
The Sue Gibson Community Achievement Award honors Stabenow, author of the Kate Shugak mystery series and other novels, “for her vision and drive in establishing Storyknife Writer’s Retreat. Women’s lives are enriched by being given the space and time to attend to their creative lives, and moreover it reinforces to our whole community the importance of a leading a life where reading and writing are primary values. Storyknife widens the net for everyone, increasing the community perception and accessibility of the Homer area as a place where creative life happens,” the press release said.