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Kris Gray earns LAMP award for library service

MADISON – Kris Gray endorses an adage from author J.K. Rowling, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” Gray’s love of reading translated into a 2023 Herman Moore Memorial LAMP Award.

Alabama Library Expo presents LAMP Awards annually to library personnel who have rendered exceptional service to patrons, schools and communities for many years. (alabamalibraryexpo.com/lamp_awards)

Gray, who works as Library Media Specialist at Mill Creek Elementary School, earned the LAMP award for outstanding service to Alabama libraries. Officials recognized her work during a ceremony at the Aerospace Conference Center at Calhoun Community College on Sept. 21.

“As a library media specialist, I love to see our kids get excited about reading! Our goal is to help all students find books that ‘take them places so they have somewhere to go when they have to stay home,’” Gray said. “We want them to meet new people and go to new places through their reading experiences.”

A native of Tiptonville, Tenn., Gray attended the University of Tennessee – Martin for a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She taught fifth-graders at Lara Kendall Elementary and Austinville Elementary schools before earning a master’s degree in library media at the University of West Alabama.

For “the second part of my teaching career,” Gray said she has been blessed to work as library media specialist since Mill Creek opened in 2009. “When (my family) moved here from Decatur, everyone raved about Madison City Schools,” Gray said. “I wanted to be part of this system and wanted my children to attend schools here.”

“Over the years at Mill Creek, I’ve served on several committees, conducted book clubs and sponsored the Newspaper Club. One of my favorite things is the book fair. I’m about to lead our 29th book fair, but I couldn’t do it without a great team of volunteers,” Gray said.

Adding innovative equipment in April, Mill Creek bought a book vending machine, a huge hit with the youngsters. “Students can win a gold coin for the machine in various ways — from using library manners to entering contests. Giving away books is one of my favorite things,” Gray said.

Kris and husband Vince Gray have been married for 32 years. He works as a sales representative for Seattle Genetics.

“We have three children: Landon, Grace and Garrison, who all attended Mill Creek, Liberty Middle School and James Clemens High School. Landon graduated from the University of Alabama in 2022. Grace and Garrison are students at Troy University,” Kris said.

“We’re so excited to have a future daughter-in-law, Jordan, and future son-in-law, Travis, who will both officially join our family in 2024,” Kris said.

Years ago, the Grays traveled to Italy. “Italy was amazing. I’ve decided that traveling is definitely something I want to do more. Vince and I hope to travel back to Italy, visit Greece and take a guided Christian tour to Israel,” Kris said.

Along with traveling, Kris likes to read but her favorite pastime “is hanging out at the lake with my family.”

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