2009 Literacy Champions

Candace Lee Cross

Children’s Librarian at Wheeler Memorial Library, Orange, MA

To many of the 7,800 people living in Orange, Massachusetts, the lively, vibrant children’s room at the Wheeler Memorial Library is, simply, “Candy’s Room.” But Candace Cross’ vision is much greater than that. It is a “gathering place, a hub of learning, for young and old alike.” Under her leadership, the library has become, as a neighbor says, “the closest thing Orange has to a community center.” Whether she is leading a lunchtime reading club in the elementary school, creating a teen drop-in center at the library, or advocating for fair wages for library employees, Candace Cross thoughtfully innovates and invigorates the definition of librarian, engaging in “daily battles with outdated images” – and winning.