The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) announced its 2012 Top Innovators during the ULC Annual Forum, Thursday and Friday in Newport Beach, CA, which dovetails with the ALA annual conference in nearby Anaheim.
ULC also gave its 2012 Urban Player Award to Lucy McCoy, the longtime commissioner of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), who was instrumental in the passage of Measure L last year that reversed the worst cuts in LAPL’s 140-year history and restored 6-day-a week service at all 73 libraries and 7-day-a-week service at nine libraries.
The 10 innovation winners were selected from nearly 200 applications
.“These innovations demonstrate the remarkable breadth, depth, and impact of public libraries in the communities they serve,” said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton.
According to a release from ULC, the winners in the 10 categories are:
Civic & Community Engagement
Sacramento Public Library(CA) I Street Press has connected people, resources, and the means to turn ideas into printed products for 600 new writers and countless others who have participated in information sessions, outreach events, and writing and publishing classes.
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (OH) Virtual Information Center brought remote users closer to the library through reallocation of staff and improved customer service leading to a 300 percent increase in use of its downloadable collection.
Economic & Workforce Development
Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library Workforce1 Expansion Centers connected library-based job seekers with hiring employers by creating a partnership with the NYC Department of Small Business Services and helped 740 unemployed New Yorkers find jobs during the first six months of operation.
Education, Literacy & Lifelong Learning:
San José Public Library (CA) Work Wise: Improving Job Performance and Proficiency helped a targeted group of workers improve their English language and literacy skills through both classroom and job-related training which led to measurable improvement in job competence among 97 percent of participants.
Health, Wellness & Safety:
San Antonio Public Library (TX) Building a Teen Nutrition Program created a comprehensive, hands-on, motivational program to combat obesity and promote healthy nutrition by first asking teens what challenges they faced in eating healthy and the issues they wanted to discuss.
Brooklyn Public Library (NY) Open Libraries Initiative leveraged operational innovations such as online fines payment and centralized collection development and system-wide statistical analysis to increase service hours by 21 percent, despite reduced funding and fewer employees.
Organizational Change & Strategic Management:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (NC) Strategic Approach to Programming established a focused, responsive, cost-effective, and measurable program framework that emphasizes core services and responds to budget cuts, reduced staffing, and the recommendations of a Future of the Library Task Force.
Positioning the Library:
King County Library System (WA): Take Time to READ promotes voluntary, recreational reading in unexpected places and positions the library as a respected source of information, inspiration, and learning.
Arlington Public Library (VA) Bikes, Buildings, and Broccoli expanded the library’s role in promoting, informing, and modeling the county government’s commitment to environmental sustainability including nurturing a bike-friendly community, reducing energy consumption in library buildings, and becoming a community gardening leader.
Columbus Metropolitan Library (OH) “My Library” Strategy uses a new app-based website that encourages customers to create personal homepages featuring electronic resources, reading preferences, and local news feeds and supports the library’s vision of a customer-focused, technology-savvy system.
McCoy became a library commissioner in 1995 and served for 10 years, including seven years as president. In 1998, she successfully led a campaign to pass a $178-million bond to replace and expand outdated branches.
“The active engagement of civic leaders, such as Lucy McCoy, as an advocate for public libraries is invaluable. Ms. McCoy’s achievements on behalf of LAPL are truly historic and are a testament to the public’s belief in the value of libraries as a fundamental community resource,” said Benton, ULC’s president and CEO.