Maryland’s Howard County Library System, 2013 Gale/LJ Library of the Year, will use the $276,500 grant it has received from the Institute of Library & Museum Services (IMLS) to expand its HiTech program. The program is a STEM education initiative for teens that provides project-based classes in such skill areas as computer programming, 3-D animation, green energy, nanotechnology, music/video production, ebooks, game app design, cybersecurity, and robotics.
“We deliver high-quality education for all ages,” says the simple, direct mission statement of the library system. Its position as an integral member of the county education system was coupled with the effort by CEO and president Valerie Gross to use “words that work” to describe the jobs of HCLS staffers, the services they provide, and the vision and mandate of the library. They all combine to provide a brand that has made HCLS a crucial county asset and a new model for libraries everywhere. This championing of community alignment, as well as many other impressive endeavors, makes HCLS the 2013 Gale/LJ Library of the Year—a well-supported, sustainable 21st-century library system from which others can and do take inspiration.