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INFOhio Hugh Durbin Leadership Award, 2005
Cheri Forster, Library Media Specialist, Columbus Public Schools.

Cheri Forster, Head of Cataloging Department & Project Manager for Library Automation, Columbus Public Schools, has been selected to receive the INFOhio Hugh Durbin Leadership Award for 2005 by the INFOhio Governing Advisory Board.

Ms. Forster was recognized for her leadership efforts in automating 141 schools in three years. “Ms. Forster has been steadfast in her focus to help Columbus Public Schools stay on target to meet their grant requirements and complete their automation on time,” said Theresa Fredericka, INFOhio Executive Director. “Her commitment to her students, teachers and INFOhio is to be commended. We applaud her planning and communication skills as well as her technical knowledge and behind the scenes troubleshooting to meet deadlines and deliver the services critical to preparing learners for the future."

The Columbus Library Automation Project was funded by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants awarded over three years by the State Library of Ohio using federal Institute of Museum and Library Services funds. According to Mary Nemeth, Coordinator of INFOhio Services, Metropolitan Educational Council, who nominated Ms. Forster for the award, “Ms. Forster is an inspiration and example to us all. She worked directly with Hugh Durbin for many years, and they shared the dream of automating the Columbus Public Schools. She was motivated by his leadership and driven to complete this enormous task they started more than 20 years ago. Her efforts have succeeded in guiding librarians to integrate the new system into their teaching and into the training of students and teachers. In fact, students are so excited they are saying things such as ‘Now, we have a real library.'"

Ms. Forster began her career as a classroom teacher in the Columbus schools more than 25 years ago. Since then, she has held positions as audiovisual cataloger, technical liaison to OHIONET, a non-profit library membership organization, and head of cataloging for Columbus Public Schools. She also served as an adjunct professor of cataloging at Ohio Dominican University. She has been in her current position since 2002. Ms. Forster has a media specialist’s graduate degree and a master's degree in Education Policy and Leadership from The Ohio State University.

Cheri was awarded a scholarship stipend to attend the 2005 INFOhio Annual Planning Conference. She was recognized during the conference.