Williston Mayor Howard Klug received a surprise at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, being honored with the North Dakota Library Association’s Champion Award.
Each year the NDLA takes nominations for the award, with individuals across the state being recognized as supporters of the state’s libraries. Klug was nominated by Williston Community Library Director Andrea Placher, who said there were many reason why he stood out as a Library Champion.
“I took the opportunity to nominate Mayor Klug because of the amazing support the he has always given us,” Placher told the Williston Herald. “I’ve been here for ten years, and he’s always supported the library. He’s personally donated to our Summer Reading Program, he has gone out and found funding for us; He’s just supported us in a number of ways.”
Placher said while Klug has always been an ardent supporter of the library, she felt that his efforts in 2020 really solidified his role as a Library Champion.
“During our struggle through COVID, he was very open to letting us pave the way through the pandemic and trusted us to know what was best and what we felt most comfortable with. He made sure we were able to keep our staff, he let us guide our way through masks and what we were going to do and he was just really instrumental in making us all feel like our voices were being heard.” Placher explained. “Not a lot of people know this, but in the library world that didn’t really happen. Libraries were told what to do rather than asked what they were comfortable with, and I just really felt it was important for him to be recognized for that and to let him know how much we as a library appreciated that.”
Placher said that Klug was unaware of his nomination and award until he was surprised at Tuesday’s Commission meeting.
“I had conspired with Administrator Tuan, who then conspired with Commissioner Bekkedahl and we decided to leave it a surprise.” She said. “We wanted to really let him know how much we appreciate him, so we decided to do it during a commission meeting.”
Placher presented Klug with a special plaque at the meeting, which he was visibly surprised to receive.
“The Library Champion award presented to me was a complete surprise, but as Andrea said, I have a lot love for libraries and appreciation for what they do.” Klug told the Herald. “The library is a community gathering place. For people that come to the City of Williston and the people that are from Williston, that is their go-to place. It’s a welcoming place, and that’s what we try to portray here in the City of Williston. This is really special to me.”