Kentwood Leader Posthumously Awarded “Heart of a Champion”

Richard L. Root, former mayor of the city of Kentwood, was recognized posthumously as the recipient of the Michigan Library Association’s inaugural Heart of a Champion award on Wednesday, November 7 at the MLA Annual Conference. Lance Werner, KDL Director and MLA President, presented the award and Richard’s wife Karleen and son Damon (shown in photo) accepted the award on his behalf.

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.”

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 him.



Written by Katie


Katie is a Communications Assistant and helps spread the word about all the amazing things taking place at KDL. She loves her job so much that she returned to it following a four-year stint as a stay-at-home mom!

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