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Eakin Named to Top 10 Under 40

Massanutten Regional Library’s Youth Services Coordinator, Clare Eakin, has been named one of the top 10 Under 40 Business Professionals in the second annual Shenandoah Valley Business Journal recognition. 
Eakin, a three-year MRL employee, has planned events and programs for the Youth Services Department to keep children reading and learning outside of school.  The Youth Summer Reading Program enrollment has exploded from 2,858 in 2009 to 7,743 enrollees for 2012.  Eakin increased the numbers with business involvement.  As a reward for participating in the library summer reading program, summer reading registrants have access to “Free Friday” events as provided by participating businesses.  For 2012 Massanutten WaterPark gave some 6000 free passes to children signed up at MRL libraries.

Other participating businesses in 2012 included the Luray Zoo, Luray Caverns, the Harrisonburg Turks and Luray Wranglers Baseball Teams, and Shenandoah National Park.  Valley Lanes, Funky’s Skate Center, and Ryan’s Orchard were also participating Free Friday businesses last summer. 
“Businesses are now asking to join in because it brings them name recognition, media exposure, and income,” says Lora Rose, Assistant Library Director for MRL.  Rose nominated Eakin for the business recognition, citing the “infectious good cheer” of Eakin’s work demeanor. 

Eakin also helped to spearhead the new Darrin Community Youth Center renovation at the downtown Main Branch.  The project began in 2011 with a gift from WHSV-TV3, and Eakin, along with numerous MRL employees, helped to raise $62,000 from local donors to complete the space.  The completion of this project allowed another space within the library to catalog a “teen library” for books and magazines for that age group.  Eakin also has plans to give the teen space its own computer bar area. 

“Eakin has a wonderful positive attitude about her job and about life in general,” says Cheryl Griffith, Community Relations Manager at Massanutten Regional Library.  “She is a sheer joy to be around.  She is always looking for a new way to devise and communicate; she cares about her library clientele and colleagues. This is evident in the way she treats people.  Massanutten Regional Library is so fortunate to have an employee of her caliber.  We frequently receive compliments on our children’s programming and events from our library patrons.  That fact alone merits this honor for her.” 

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