“An american library horror story with a Happy Ending”: that’s the tagline on the winning application submitted for LJ’s 2012 Best Small Library in America Award. In today’s library world, with shrinking budgets, staff, and hours, we all understand the horror story. It’s the happy ending that’s difficult to envision.
How the small staff of eight pulled off the miraculous resurrection of the Independence Public Library exemplifies what makes good libraries and good librarians. Their effort combined innovative thinking with a participatory management style. They collaborated with other Kansas libraries and built partnerships with the community, its leaders, and the agencies, institutions, and enterprises that operate in the library district. For all this and more, the Independence Public Library is the winner of the 2012 Best Small Library in America Award, cosponsored by LJ and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.