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2020 William Gaston Awards

The 2020 recipients include:

Ms. Clare Charzewski

Clare Charzewski and Commissioner KeigherMs. Clare Charzewski has lived in Gaston County for twenty-three years, and resides in Cramerton. She has committed many years to serving Gaston County and its citizens through various organizations.  In fact, Clare has always been active in the various communities she has lived in over the years, having been elected to Boards of Education, Library Boards and holding leadership roles in various civic and philanthropic organizations.

Clare was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees in May of 2016, and immediately began to show her enthusiasm and dedication to the cause of the Gaston County Public Library.  She has been a faithful attendee at too many Library programs to count, helps to promote Library programs and activities through social media and her personal contacts, and has been a great political advocate for both our needs and statewide library-related causes, such as increasing funding for the NC Kids Digital Library online service.

Two particular significant contributions made by Clare are her great support of the building renovations at the Belmont Branch Library and her outstanding leadership in recruiting sponsors for the Where the Wild Things Are Exhibit Gala last December.

Clare Charzewski Presentation of William Gaston AwardThe Belmont Branch was the first major branch renovation undertaken in the recent phase of building work in our 10-library system.  Other than the ADA upgrades paid for with a Gaston County Township Grant, the Friends of the Gaston County Public Library provided the funding for all of the other changes to the branch, including painting, furniture, and a beautiful new service desk made with local wood and crafted by Chronicle Millworks.  Securing the funds for this major project was a significant task, and Clare helped to lead the charge. Her personal relationship with John and Jennifer Church of Chronicle Millworks helped us to solidify the partnership that led to the unique service desk, and her tenacious outreach to local residents and acquaintances helped to bring in enough dollars to make the project a beautiful reality.

Similarly, when it was announced several years ago that the Library would be hosting the international touring Maurice Sendak exhibition, Clare immediately offered her help.  As plans for a Gala Evening to kick off the exhibit began to take shape, she started reaching out once again to her friends, neighbors, local businesses, and others to promote the event and help the Friends raise the money needed to cover the significant exhibition and Gala costs.  She carried informational brochures with her everywhere she went and did not stop recruiting donors, and later, attendees to the exhibit, until it was packed up and shipped off to the next location in February.  Thanks in major part to her efforts, the Gala and exhibit were major successes, with over 2,300 people in attendance in the 6-week exhibit period.

Clare has been a delightful addition to the Library Board. Her support for the Library’s administration, staff, and objectives has been unwavering.  She is dedicated to our mission and asks thought-provoking questions at the Board meetings to make sure we are on the right track.  Even through personal circumstances that for a time limited her mobility, she has never stopped doing all she can to be an enthusiastic and generous supporter of the Gaston County Public Library.

Clare Charzewski with Board of CommissionersClare is married to David, they have 3 married daughters and 7 grandchildren. The youngest was born just a few short days ago.  She is a member of two book clubs and has a true passion for playing Competition Bridge, for which she has earned the title of Life Master. She is a member of the Queen of the Apostles Church in Belmont, serving as a member of the Pastoral Council and teaching in the Religious Education program.

Clare, the County Commission is most grateful for your continued advocacy and diligent support of our libraries your continued efforts to make Gaston County a better place to live, work and play.