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2018 Innovations Initiative

ULC’s Innovations Initiative showcases leading “best” and “next” practices that demonstrate the value and impact of public library service in the 21st century. These practices embody ideas, approaches and insights which other libraries can adapt.

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By submitting to ULC's annual Innovations Initiative, libraries:

  • Enter the running for ULC's annual Top Innovator awards
  • Contribute to ULC's innovations database, which serves as a key learning and reference resource for libraries and other learning institutions throughout North America
  • Demonstrate to local government and other leaders the value that libraries provide in strong communities   
  • Increase local and national media awareness of the 21st century public library

The Innovations Initiative divides library members’ innovations into 10 categories that demonstrate the value and impact of public library service in the 21st century. Each year, submissions are reviewed by an independent panel of judges who select a Top Innovator and Honorable Mention in each category. ULC will announce the winners of these awards at our 2018 Annual Forum this September in Baltimore.

Submission Categories

  • ​Education: Birth thru Teens

    Innovations in child/parent/family learning; sensory and early childhood literacies; STEM/STEAM; summer learning; learning labs; maker spaces; partnerships for children’s education.

  • ​Education: Adults

    Innovations in reading and all literacies; GED/high school diploma; ESL, cultural enrichment; partnerships for adult education.

  • Race and Social Equity

    Innovations in promoting social and racial equity within the community; ensuring equal access, equitable opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all.

  • Civic and Community Engagement

    Innovations that support civic engagement and a strong democracy; organizing and contributing to discussions and programs that address topics such as civil society, inclusion and tolerance and tenets of democracy.

  • Positioning the Library

    Innovations in sharing the library’s value including communications and marketing strategies; social media campaigns, partnerships that enhance awareness of the library’s role in the community’s strategic priorities, and public affairs campaigns.

  • Workforce and Economic Development

    Innovations that increase individual work/job skills; digital training. Innovations that support entrepreneur and small business development through resources, programs, services, co-working space and community partnerships.

  • Health, Safety and Sustainability

    Innovations for advancing community health priorities; addressing access to health care and promoting critical health outcomes, participating in community public safety and local sustainability goals.

  • Customer Experience

    Innovations in reaching new users; enhancing the customer experience. New approaches to organizing the library’s staff and/or updating space to better meet the users’ needs and experiences.

  • Organizational Change and Strategic Management

    Innovations in the library organization and staff; qualitative and quantitative approaches to measure impact and outcomes.

  • Collections

    Innovations in the curation and/or creation of print and digital content; approaches for measuring use of collections.