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10. West Bloomfield Township Public Library

Press Contact: Clara Nalli Bohrer, 248-232-2327

Web Site:

Cameron Thomas-Shah, Community Member; Clara Nalli Bohrer, Director; and Mrs. Obama.
Pictured: Cameron Thomas-Shah, Community Member; Clara Nalli Bohrer, Director; and Mrs. Obama. Click image to access high-resolution version.

Once a small library in the suburbs of Detroit, the West Bloomfield Township Public Library has grown to meet the needs of a culturally diverse community by maximizing its resources through strategic partnerships with families, schools, non-profits, and local government agencies.

No matter the changes, the library’s most important partnership is still with parents. As their child’s first teachers, parents are most likely to instill a lifelong love of reading and learning. Through its Grow Up Reading® initiative, the library reinvented its Youth Services Rooms, creating interactive spaces for families to play and learn.

In an area hit hard by the recent recession, the library is also helping West Bloomfield Townships residents fight joblessness and secure more stable futures for themselves and their families through partnerships with Michigan Works (a statewide jobs initiative), county economic agencies, experts from the local community college, the Chamber of Commerce, and area nonprofits.

West Bloomfield Township Public Library offers the very best to its community by making concerted and collaborative efforts to enrich the lives of everyone in town.

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (MI) "While many might think of their local library as simply a place to quietly work and to check out books, that is not the case for West Bloomfield Township, whose residents have a plethora of resources available to them through the West Bloomfield Township Public Library. This library is truly a comprehensive educational environment, where children can learn and socialize, parents can get medical guidance, and families get support they need for healthy and happy development. The library has gone further in these times of economic need, helping unemployed residents with job workshops and search assistance. West Bloomfield Township Public Library has gone above and beyond the call of duty, and for that they are truly deserving of this award."

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI)"The West Bloomfield Township Public Library truly merits this recognition, and I am proud to see them named as one of the winners of the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. I have had the pleasure of seeing their work first-hand and know that they are creating partnerships with the community to help Michigan families, especially in addressing early literacy. During these difficult economic times, they have also worked hard to help people looking for work find the resources and information they need."

U.S. Representative Gary Peters (MI–09) "The hallmark of a good library is its ability to foster community and provide access to a diverse set of information and resources. The efforts of the West Bloomfield Township Public Library to connect with each resident, whether teaching a child to read or helping an adult perfect their resume, are exemplary. I am incredibly proud of their work and grateful for their contribution to our community."

Community Member Cameron Thomas-Shah
Former latchkey kid attributes success to the library

Currently a senior at Morehouse College in Atlanta majoring in International Studies with a minor in Chinese, Cameron Thomas-Shah attributes his educational and personal success to what he learned at the West Bloomfield Township Public Library, starting at the age of 10. As the only child of a single working mom, Cameron was a latchkey kid who found a second home at the library where he grew up, intellectually and emotionally.

As staff helped Cameron with homework assignments, he grew more self-confident and outspoken – even a little rambunctious and mischievous. Eventually his acting out led to a meeting with the library director, Cameron, and his mother. From this experience, however, Cameron began to mature and realize that he wanted to help others. When Cameron turned 15, he applied and was selected as a computer page, blossoming in his new role of helping older adults become savvy computer users.

As a West Bloomfield High School senior, Cameron received the community’s Youth Advocate Award and was recognized for his community involvement and activism. He received a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship and studied public policy and international affairs at a 2010 Princeton University summer institute. After he graduates from college, Cameron hopes to serve his country in the Foreign Service.

The library’s steadying influence, environment, resources, and staff played a major role in helping Cameron develop his personal potential, along with a lifelong love of reading and learning, and interest in helping others.