Story Builder Co-Chairs Earn Library’s Distinguished Service Award

Heidi Atkins, Robert (Bob) Eierman, and Carol Gabler

The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library’s Board of Trustees is proud to award its 2022 Distinguished Service Award to Heidi Atkins, Robert (Bob) Eierman, and Carol Gabler in recognition of their outstanding work as Co-Chairs of the Storybuilder Capital Campaign. They are the first co-recipients in the sixteen-year history of the award.

The Storybuilder Capital Campaign raised $7M to help fund the long-awaited renovation and expansion of the library facility at 400 Eau Claire Street. The new building not only meets the requirements of a first-class modern public library but has become a true community meeting place and destination for people from all walks of life. The Co-Chairs’ efforts were critical to the success of the campaign.

Atkins, a local attorney, has served as the President of the boards of directors for Literacy Volunteers, Feed My People Food Bank, and the Eau Claire YMCA. She has also chaired the Empty Bowls fundraiser for Feed My People since 2007. Her quiet, confident leadership was invaluable as she worked to make connections and engage in critical conversations with community members and stakeholders. Her passion for the library’s mission and role in society is inspirational.

Eierman was a Chemistry professor at UW–Eau Claire for 32 years. He also served on the Library Board of Trustees for six years, for one year as Vice President, and as President for four years. Without Eierman’s foundational work in conducting the building feasibility and space needs analysis and the campaign readiness study, the library renovation/expansion project might never have happened at all. He brought key people together to move the project forward, and his analytical skills helped campaign leaders make data-driven decisions.

Gabler has lived in Eau Claire for more than 40 years. She served as Executive Director of Literacy Chippewa Valley for 20 years and supervised student teachers at UW–Eau Claire from 2007 through 2019. She also volunteers with the Women’s Giving Circle and serves as a volunteer chaplain at an area nursing home. Gabler’s unique mix of fundraising experience, community connections, and philanthropic tenacity allowed her to advocate passionately and fearlessly on behalf of the campaign and building project.

The library’s Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to a community member who has served the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in a significant way. Criteria include significant contributions in at least one of four areas: generosity of time and spirit; the ability to inspire others to service; extraordinary contributions to a library-related issue; and/or particularly notable accomplishments in service to library customers or staff.

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