By Sarah Chacko

Killeen Daily Herald

When local librarian Amy Gibson won the New York Times Librarian Award, it was a bittersweet occasion.

Gibson, Children Services Supervisor at the Copper Mountain Branch Library, was overjoyed by the honor, but at the time, was not sure that she would be able to make the trip to receive the award Wednesday.

But a group of mothers who wouldnt take no for an answer made a large effort to make a small miracle happen, and Gibson said she cannot believe everything fell into place.

Everythings moving real fast right now, she said.

For a while, things seemed to be moving very slowly.

While mothers who attended Gibsons programs made donations to send her to New York, city policy made the process difficult.

City policy says that an employee cannot accept a gift over $15 from a citizen or a vendor, Deputy City Attorney Traci Briggs said.

However, certain awards and recognition from non-profit groups, like Friends of the Library, are allowed.

City Manager David Blackburn said the city was proud to see one of its employees receive such a great national acknowledgment, but its policy is common for public servants and entities.

Blackburn said that because the $2,500 cash prize Gibson receives with her award is a personal award and not going to the city or the library, the citys hands were tied in using its own money to pay for her travel expenses.

Killeen Library Director Deanna Frazee said the library was also already tightly budgeted for the next fiscal year.

But the city did find a mechanism through the Friends of the Library to assist Gibson in making the trip.

A ticket donated to the Friends of the Library by a mother who cashed in her frequent-flyer miles was in turn given to Gibson for her trip.

Friends of the Library also gave Gibson a check for $1,200 for her hotel, cab rides and meals.

Gibson said she knew the mothers who supported her and others would come together, but she didnt expect it all to come together the way that it did.

That was really unexpected and very exciting, Gibson said.

Frazee said the library plans to hold a reception in Gibsons honor in January.

Contact Sarah Chacko at

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