by Allen Gress
Usually witty and humorous, retired Louisville Librarian Mike Snyder stood in front of the crowd briefly dumbfounded at Wednesday’s Constitutional banquet to accept the award as the 2013 Citizen of the Year. Recovering, he showed his humble side, and in a brief emotional thank-you message he urged young people in attendance to volunteer, get involved and be doers in life. “There’s a lot to be done,” he said. True to form, before returning to his seat he thanked his longtime partner, best friend and wife Ellen.
Sponsored by the Rotary Club, the Outstanding Citizen award has been given since 1975. Recipients are chosen for outstanding contributions to the community.
Rotary President Eva Roshong presented the award, citing Snyder’s contributions, not only to the library, but also to the community. “Perhaps his most admirable characteristic is that Mike’s life’s accomplishments personifies the Rotary motto — Service above self,” she said.
A few of his achievements include:
* Board member of the Louisville/Nimishillen Historical Society;
* Led the campaign to pass the first library levy;
* Redesigned and updated the library’s interior;
* Is a volunteer reader for 1st graders at Louisville Elementary School;
* Was fundamental in obtaining the old post office for the library;
* Recipient of the Hennen American Public Library Award;
* Was Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year;
* Is an active Rotarian and has held several offices;
* Organized Friends of the Library organization;
* A cat lover who takes in strays, feeds them and finds homes for them;
* Is credited with bringing the library into the 21st Century and expanding its number of cardholders;
* His leadership in developing plans for a new library-community center now in the works.
People who know Mike will tell you that he never met a stranger. History and trivia buffs corner him frequently trying to stump him with little known facts or stories. People who top Mike with an obscure historical or old television, movie or song title goes away feeling accomplished.
Working behind the library desk, Snyder would personally assist young or elderly readers find suitable books to check out and his advice was always taken, his knowledge of books without question.
Mike, who retired in July after a 40-year career, was born, raised and educated in Kentucky. He quipped that his UK diploma hanging on the wall will now take second place to his Citizen of the Year plaque.