Bridgeport Public Library Board President James E. O'Donnell Named ULC's 2011 Urban Player

July 20th, 2011

Award Honors O'Donnell's Role in Building a More Sustainable Library System

Jim_O_DonnellBridgeport Public Library Board President James E. O’Donnell was recently honored with the 2011 Urban Player Award at the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) Annual Membership meeting in New Orleans . Each year, the Urban Player Award is presented to an individual who is recognized as a strong and effective advocate for the public library. And this year, Mr. O’Donnell’s commitment to the transformation of the Bridgeport Public Library provided him the award.

"I was thoroughly surprised and deeply honored to be considered for the Urban Player Award. I gratefully accept the Award, not as a personal achievement, but in the spirit of my participation in the work of so many others for which our Bridgeport Public Library has been recognized,” said Jim O’Donnell.

Mr. O’Donnell has been the Library Board President for the past eight years and has served on the Board of Directors of the Bridgeport Public Library since 1983. Under the leadership of Mr. O’Donnell the Bridgeport Public Library Board of Directors, staff, friends and community advocates led the first library operating referendum campaign, Liberate Libraries Political Action Committee, in Connecticut state history. Due to this movement and Mr. O’Donnell’s dedicated efforts, Bridgeport Public Library’s operating budget increased by 45%, making the library a more sustainable system.

“I simply couldn’t think of a more deserving person for the Urban Player Award than Jim O’Donnell. As humble as he is, this award presents the opportunity to praise Jim for all of his hard work and dedication,” said Scott Hughes, director of Bridgeport Public Library.

Mr. O’Donnell and the Bridgeport Public Library Board of Directors have been a great resource for the library and the entire community. The leaders adopted the library’s long range strategic plan, The Bridgeport Public Library: Building Community…Helping People…Changing Lives, and successfully educated and engaged the community about the need and the meaning of the library which allowed a library ballot to be passed by a 2-1 margin in every voting system in the city.

“The participation of leaders, such as Mr. O’Donnell, as a source and advocate for public libraries is invaluable. Mr. O’Donnell fought for the right to be heard and helped restore the needed funding which is a huge testament to the fact that public libraries are essential within communities,” said Susan Benton, President and CEO of Urban Libraries Council.