Urban Libraries Council Celebrates Public Library Leadership

October 30th, 2015

Contact: Charlie Carroll
Communications Manager

Urban Libraries Council Celebrates Public Library Leadership
2015 Award Recipients Announced

Washington, DC, October 30, 2015 – The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) announced the recipients of the 2015 Joey Rodger Leadership, Urban Leader and Executive Board Leadership awards at a special celebration during the 2015 ULC Leaders Partnering for Success conference in San Diego. The awards recognize transformative leadership that advances the impact and strategic role of public libraries in communities across North America.

2015 Joey Rodger Leadership Award
Karen Beach, Deputy Director of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation, received the 2015 Joey Rodger Leadership Award. Dedicating over 20 years of service to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Ms. Beach developed innovative outreach initiatives to high-need communities with a strong focus on early literacy, helped build over 130 community partnerships and led the expansion of the Library’s community volunteer program. She has also been a vocal advocate for public libraries on the local and state levels, convening community conversations to reduce budget cuts and organizing activities to educate state legislators on the critical role libraries play in education, digital inclusion, workforce development and more. Ms. Beach’s work led to the formation of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation in 2012 and a partnership with the Friends Council in 2013. Through extensive community outreach and funding support, the Foundation is critical to the library’s long-term sustainability.

2015 Urban Leader Award
Former Nashville mayor Karl Dean received the 2015 Urban Leader Award, which recognizes an outstanding civic leader whose work with local government, funders, community leaders and others elevates the essential role that public libraries play in driving community well-being. During his two terms as mayor, Mr. Dean helped position Nashville Public Library (NPL) as the central partner in citywide education initiatives, including Limitless Libraries, an award-winning, nationally recognized partnership model between the library and Metro Nashville Public Schools that provides over 57,000 students access to the full range of library resources. He also supported significant investment in the Library, helping secure $12 million in system-wide revitalization efforts, as well as funding for Studio NPL, a high-tech makerspace for teens, and new facilities to serve a growing and increasingly diverse city.

Executive Board Leadership Award
For the first time, the ULC Executive Board has presented a special Executive Board Leadership Award for outstanding leadership and contribution to ULC libraries. This unique award goes to Reed Hundt, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital, and John Beahn, Counsel for the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, for their outstanding work with ULC to secure a higher reimbursement rate for urban libraries in the recent modernization of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) E-rate program. Working as pro bono E-rate advisors, they successfully urged the FCC to recognize the essential role libraries play in providing Wi-Fi service to residents of urban and suburban communities who have no other source of Internet connectivity. The increased funding helps eligible libraries enhance their Wi-Fi networks by allowing them to apply for the program at a rate of $5 per square foot of building space, a significant gain from the $1 per square foot rated proposed earlier in the year.

“Through their local and national work, these leaders have all advanced the impact and strategic role of libraries in the communities they serve,” said Susan Benton, President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council. “We congratulate them on their leadership and thank them for their commitment to public libraries.”