October 7, 2019

Library Foundation announces recipients of Julian Sinclair Smith and Foundation awards

Jack and Suzi Hanna to receive Julian Sinclair Smith Award; Cindy Hilsheimer to receive Foundation Award

Jack and Suzi Hanna


COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) has announced Jack and Suzi Hanna as the 2019 recipients of the Julian Sinclair Smith Award. Each year, the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation (CMLF) presents the award to honor inspiring individuals living or working in and around Franklin County with a passion for lifelong learning. The award will be presented at CMLF’s 27th annual Celebration of Learning fundraiser gala on Friday, Nov. 1 at Main Library.

Over their last 40+ years in Columbus, the Hannas have brought wildlife and conservation education to audiences around the world through Jack’s countless TV appearances, speeches and their three award-winning TV series: "Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures," "Into the Wild" and "Wild Countdown." Jack is currently director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He served as director from 1978-1992.

Julian Sinclair Smith was founder of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of WSYX/ABC 6 and operator of WTTE/Fox-28 and CW Columbus. His rise to prominence in the industry can be attributed to his quest for knowledge, beginning with the completion of a radio correspondence course while still in high school. When he died in 1993, the Smith family chose to honor his passion toward reading, education and lifelong learning, with an award named in his honor presented through the CMLF.

Cindy Hilsheimer


Cindy Hilsheimer will be honored with the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation Award, which recognizes an individual volunteer or volunteers who have had a sustained impact and demonstrated a commitment, passion and dedication to the library and/or its Foundation.

Hilsheimer served on the Columbus Metropolitan Library Board of Trustees from 2000-2018. She is founder and managing principal of BeecherHill, a retained executive search practice. She currently serves on the boards of COSI, Pelotonia, the Columbus Symphony, The Ohio State University Foundation, the OSU Wexner Medical Center and the OSUCCC-James Foundation. Hilsheimer has served as a director for the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) since 2011.

Hilsheimer is the fourth person to receive the CMLF Award, which is given periodically to a recipient selected by the CMLF’s Executive Committee. Fellow honorees include Corde Westwater Robinson (2017), Cindy and Steve Rasmussen (2015) and Charlotte Kessler (2012).

Celebration of Learning, the CMLF’s annual fundraiser, will be held in the Steve and Cindy Rasmussen and Nationwide Foundation Grand Atrium and the Siemer Family Foundation Reading Room of Main Library on Friday, Nov. 1. New York Times bestselling author Candice Millard will provide the keynote address. To date, the event has raised over $6 million in support of the library’s greatest needs and highest priorities.

Each year, the event features a renowned author and the presentation of The Julian Sinclair Smith Award for Lifelong Learning. The CMLF supports the library’s immediate needs and long-range goals through generous private donations, ensuring the library’s collections, programs and services will be available for generations of learners to come.

The 2019 honorary chairs for Celebration of Learning are Jeni Britton Bauer and Charly Bauer.

Visit the CMLF’s Celebration of Learning webpage to attend this year’s event and to learn more about this year’s honorees.

Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Challenge and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college and career readiness and employment resources.

CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. CML was also named 2010 Library of the Year by Library Journal.