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CCPL Announces 2021 Cynthia Graham Hurd Staff Award Winner

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Left to Right: CCPL Executive Director Angela Craig, Melvin Graham, CCPL Chief Deputy Director Darlene Jackson. Front/Center – Julian Gooding

Press Release

Charleston County Public Library’s (CCPL) Cynthia Graham Hurd Staff Award for 2021 has been awarded to Julian Gooding, Digital Creation Technician at the Wando Mount Pleasant Library. This award honors the memory of Hurd, a 31-year veteran of CCPL, who was killed in the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in 2015.  

The award is presented “in recognition of a current staff member who has demonstrated to the public and community the same spirit, enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment exhibited by Cynthia in carrying out the mission of CCPL.” To be eligible, an employee must have completed one full year of service and have at least one written nomination submitted on their behalf by another staff member.

“We are honored to recognize Julian Gooding as this year’s award recipient,” said CCPL Chief Deputy Director Darlene Jackson. “His passion to improve literacy in the African American community is one of his greatest motivators, which reminds us of our beloved Cynthia.”

Gooding, who has been with CCPL for nearly 10 years, has long been an admirer of Cynthia and the impact she had at CCPL and in the community.

“I learned from Cynthia’s love of libraries that equitable access to literacy for all creates human relationships that are healthy and free to express emotion filled with positivity,” said Gooding. “We simply need to apply the restorative practice of listening respectfully to develop community, manage conflict, repair harm and build relationships. I share this award with all that were nominated as we honor the legacy and continue to do the work of Cynthia Graham Hurd.”

Gooding has been working for more than 30 years as a television producer, documentary filmmaker, and continuing education program developer for institutions of higher learning in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. His focus on racial inequity began in D.C. and has continued through his time in Charleston, where he began producing literacy programs for K – 12 education. Gooding partnered with the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department and began teaching literacy through the arts. During his time at CCPL, Gooding has worked in a variety of departments and roles, all while working to end racial, cultural, and gender disparities. He is currently one of the team leaders on CCPL’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Staff Committee.

Gooding also provides workshops throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia for adults on education gentrification, microaggressions in the classroom and alternative concepts for STEM. Recently, he was invited by the Racial Equity Institute (REI) to deliver programs on systemic racism.

The Cynthia Graham Hurd Staff Award was developed in 2019, when CCPL staff worked closely with Cynthia’s brothers, Melvin and Malcolm Graham, and the Graham family, to establish an opportunity to celebrate Cynthia’s memory and recognize outstanding staff on an annual basis. Previous winners include K’Lani Green (2019) and Sheila Heyward (2020).

For more information about CCPL, visit ccpl.org.

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