Kentwood Leader Posthumously Awarded “Heart of a Champion”

Richard L. Root, former mayor of the city of Kentwood, is being recognized posthumously as the recipient of the Michigan Library Association’s inaugural Heart of a Champion award.

Richard Root served the city of Kentwood for 33 years, first as city commissioner, then as mayor.  As a strong library supporter, Richard was almost single-handedly responsible for the successful passage of a millage in 2008 to build the new Kentwood branch of KDL.  He secured the city commissioners’  support of the new library project, organized the millage campaign committee and invited citizens to his home to discuss how to galvanize voters around the exciting prospect of a new library in the community.  Richard also met with the media, businesses, groups, and individuals about the need for a new library; securing key endorsements and campaign funding. Following months of campaigning, Richard was proud to hold the victory celebration in his home after the citizens of Kentwood passed the millage by 68%. “A library is not just for reading anymore,” said Mayor Richard Root at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Kentwood library. “It is a living and breathing arm of the community.”

For his efforts in building a new library in the City of Kentwood and for his unwavering support for the value of the public library in the Kentwood community, Richard Root has been awarded the 2012 Heart of a Champion award. After a nearly four-year battle with cancer, Richard Root died on June 8, 2012.  Efforts are currently underway to rename the Kentwood branch of KDL after Richard Root.


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Written by Heidi


Heidi Nagel is KDL’s Communications Manager. She is an equal opportunity librarian — loving both cats and dogs with equal fervor.

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