IPSWICH, Mass. — March 27, 2014 — Wichita Public Library in Kansas was named the recipient of the 2014 LibraryAware Community Award. Atlantic County Public Library in New Jersey was awarded second place and Kitsap Regional Library in Washington came in third. The annual LibraryAware Community Award is given by Library Journal and underwritten by LibraryAware, a product of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services. The award recognizes model communities that engage with their libraries to improve the lives of their citizens and create life-long learners. Wichita Public Library has been instrumental with the city's initiative to increase engagement with its residents. The library was an invaluable partner in creating the Activate Wichita online engagement site. The site has helped generate over 400 ideas for ways to improve the community.
Wichita Public Library Director of Libraries Cynthia Berner Harris says they are pleased to be able to share the award with their community. "The staff of the Wichita Public Library was delighted to receive word of our selection for the LibraryAware Community Award. Through our partnerships and projects such as Activate Wichita, our library is not only ensuring that our programs and services are meeting the needs of our residents, but also bringing the power of citizen engagement into discussions about important community issues. Our board and staff are honored that these efforts are considered noteworthy. We look forward to celebrating this award selection with our community."
Atlantic County Public Library was recognized for their extraordinary commitment to serving their community in the aftermath of SuperStorm Sandy. The library staff took on a new role of connecting residents with vital recovery and rebuilding information and also created the Sandy Stories Project, a series of interviews with Sandy victims, to serve as a source of inspiration and healing as well as a primary source of historical significance. Kitsap Regional Library was commended for the creativity and ingenuity of the library staff in finding new ways to bring innovative services to the community to support literacy, the education of youth and providing a forum for civic engagement.
LibraryAware Product Lead Nancy Dowd says the efforts of these libraries have really made an impact on their communities. "These winners really demonstrate what it means to have a library at the heart of the community. Kudos to them for working together to make a difference in the lives of citizens."
"It's inspiring to see the many ways Wichita Public Library has integrated the library into fabric of its community. By connecting to the vision of the community's civic leaders, and helping to identify citizens' top priorities, WPL has positioned itself front and center and is helping to shape the future of its community" notes Rebecca T. Miller, Editorial Director of Library Journal and School Library Journal.
Criteria for the LibraryAware Community Award include any and all components that create a LibraryAware community: strategic planning, marketing, outreach, partnerships, and programs, product, or service development. The award emphasizes the library's engagement with the community its ability to make its community "aware" of what the library can do for it—and has delivered on that promise. This year, libraries were also required to include one letter of recommendation from a representative from local government such as a city manager.
Submissions were judged by the following library and community experts:
- John Chrastka, Founder, EveryLibrary.org
- Eva Davis, Director, Canton MI Public Library (2013 LibraryAware Winning Library)
- Sandra Fried, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Libraries Initiative
- Kira Hasbargen, International City Managers Association
- George Martinez, Knight Foundation
The 2014 winners are also featured in an article in Library Journal: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/03/awards/engaging-everyone-in-town-2014-libraryaware-community-award/. The LibraryAware Community Award will be given annually to a community of any size and its library.
About Library Aware
LibraryAware is a subscription service that enables libraries to reach their community through print, online, email and web channels. Uses for the LibraryAware program include a full range of marketing and communication channels including email blasts, e-newsletters, flyers, bookmarks, brochures, website inserts, letters, invitations, and social media. Learn more about LibraryAware at: www.libraryaware.com