Lawrence A. Acheff selected as Indiana Library Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Lawrence A. Acheff has been selected to receive the 2018 Indiana Library Federation (ILF) Lifetime Achievement Award. The ILF Lifetime Achievement Award honors and recognizes a librarian who has rendered outstanding service to Indiana libraries in his or her local community, throughout his or her region, or the state.

Lawrence Acheff's formal career in libraries spanned 39 years. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 1970 and continued his education at the University of Iowa where he obtained his Masters in Library Science in 1972. He began his career at the Gary Public Library and continued at the Lake County Public Library, making a significant impact on Northwest Indiana and the state of Indiana. Within just a couple years of retiring as the Library Director of Lake County Public Library, Lawrence Acheff was appointed to its Board of Trustees, where he serves today.

Throughout his years serving in Northwest Indiana libraries, Mr. Acheff anticipated and led innovations and collaborations in libraries. From implementing new technologies in the 1970s to capital improvement projects with a $30 million bond that focused on patron-friendly library branches, Mr. Acheff has been a leader. He fostered a strong, diverse staff—both recruiting external talent and “growing their own” by encouraging enrollment in the MLS program. Recognizing that community collaborations provide the strongest outcomes, Mr. Acheff developed initiatives to host the Talking Books region and the Northwest Indiana Literacy Coalition. He partnered with numerous organizations over the years for the benefit of residents, including citizenship services, Lakeshore public radio and television stations, all ten public school districts, local parochial and charter schools, seven other library districts, area chambers of commerce and so much more.

Lawrence Acheff supported the profession and provided an example to the larger library community in many ways, as evident from the numerous letters of support and examples of his service. One former director described “Larry as the ‘go to’ director in the region” and how he kept the Northwest Indiana Library Board Association going. A local attorney framed up Mr. Acheff’s tenacity in upholding patrons’ rights to privacy by fighting in court a subpoena for a patron’s record of borrowing. His influence was deep and wide. As a trustee leader, Mr. Acheff continues to share his experience with other trustees, providing a model for trustee-director relationships and library advocacy.

Mr. Acheff is a former President of the Merrillville Rotary and represents the library at monthly LCAC (Lake County Advancement Committee) meetings.