ULC Awards Top Innovators

June 28th, 2013

 ULC                                                           PRESS RELEASE

 

Contact: Aurora Matthews                                                                        For Immediate Release
The Hatcher Group                                                                                                                          June 28, 2013
Phone: 301.656.0348


Winning Initiatives Demonstrate Value and Impact of
Public Libraries in the Community

Chicago, IL, June 28, 2013 – The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) today recognized 10 libraries for innovative programs that offer everything from hands-on science projects to community gardens, often delivering their resources in unique ways.

2013_Top_InnovatorsThe 2013 Top Innovators, announced during the ULC Annual Forum in Chicago, were chosen by a panel of expert judges who considered more than 140 applications. In addition, for the first time ULC honored three libraries for their response to community crises: a hurricane, wildfires and a mass shooting.

“These innovations continue to represent the leadership and value of high-performing public libraries,” said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton. “From helping parents access information about early childhood literacy skills through a mobile App to creating a library presence at an international airport to helping their community after a natural disaster, public libraries are continuing to broaden and deepen their roles as vital community resources.”

2013 Top InnovatorsThe 2013 Top Innovators in the 10 categories are:

Learning: Howard County Library System (MD) HiTech: The Road to a STEM Career delivers cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education using hands-on technology projects, experiential learning and peer-to-peer communications.

Civic and Community Engagement: Los Angeles Public Library (CA) Your Path to Citizenship Starts at the Los Angeles Public Library program provides a safe place for immigrants to access a wide range of services. Nearly 10,000 people have taken advantage of the resources available in “citizenship corners” in all 73 library locations.

Collections: Nashville Public Library (TN) Limitless Libraries increased circulation of school library resources by 79 percent since its launch in 2009. Today, it serves all 128 schools with two full-time collection development librarians and a materials budget of more than $1 million.

Customer Experience: Calgary Public Library (AB) Grow a Reader Early Literacy App takes the fun, interactive contents from early childhood literacy programs and delivers it to parents via mobile devices. In less than two months, the Grow a Reader app was downloaded 1,200 times.

Economic and Workforce Development: Saint Paul Public Library (MN) NorthStar Digital Literacy Project has led to more outcome-driven digital literacy instruction by using assessments for pre- and post- tests and tailoring program content to the assessment standards. The certificate of mastery has also increased interest in computer literacy classes, particularly among non-English speakers.

Health, Wellness and Safety: Pima County Public Library (AZ) Library Nurses Program provides a safe and welcoming environment for all patrons and staff at library branches and minimizes the number of 911 calls. During the program’s first year, library nurses interacted with more than 2,800 patrons, and 911 medical calls from libraries fell by 20 percent.

Operations: New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries (NY) BookOps: Shared Library Technical Services will combine acquisitions, cataloguing, processing, sorting and delivery of books and resources to the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library and will save the two library systems up to $3.5 million annually.

Organizational Change and Strategic Management: San Francisco Public Library (CA) Community Impact through Renewed Engagement initiated a research process to renew community connections in five city neighborhoods. From walks in the neighborhoods, to ride-alongs with police, to interviews with community members, the teams spent three months gathering data and then presented their findings to community members and library staff.

Positioning the Library: Free Library of Philadelphia (PA) Flying High: Library of Philadelphia Touches Down in the International Airport provides library resources to airport travelers and employees. The library’s presence at the airport is part of its commitment to ensuring that the library remains a hub of possibilities for residents and those just passing through the region.

Sustainability: Sacramento Public Library (CA) Read and Feed: Partnerships for Building Healthy Communities supports a comprehensive healthy communities initiative in a neighborhood with a majority of its children living in poverty and limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

ULC is also honoring three libraries for their leadership in helping communities respond to crises.

Serving Communities in Crisis:
Johnson County Library (KS) A Conversation about Sandy Hook engaged 94 community members for a conversation about the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Queens Library (NY) Queens Library Responds to Hurricane Sandy by opening a mobile library site along the hard-hit waterfront to provide referral information and resource sheets for shelters, food and benefits. More than 8,300 visitors used the makeshift libraries during the first week.

Poudre River Public Library District (CO) Libraries as First Responders formed after a massive wildfire forced the evacuation of 3,000 people. Library staff worked with first responder agencies to serve as an information hub that provided up-to-date and reliable information throughout the crisis.

“Congratulations to the 2013 Top Innovators, as well as to every library that submitted for the Innovations Awards this year,” said Benton.  “Each library submission demonstrates how much of an impact public libraries have on communities through these remarkable and innovative initiatives.”

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