From books to bikes to banks, Mississippi Valley Library District steps up to address critical service gaps.
Louisville Free Public Library’s (LFPL) leadership—along with its collaboration with the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and many other local institutions in efforts to improve literacy, support lifelong learning, and teach new skills needed in the local workforce—has won for LFPL the 2016 LibraryAware Community Award. The award recognizes LFPL’s engagement with the community, its needs, and the priorities of its civic institutions, as well as the library’s ability to make Louisville fully cognizant of what LFPL does and can do. The award is presented by Library Journal and funded by LibraryAware, a product of EBSCO Publishing’s NoveList Division. It carries a prize of $10,000.
In 2010, two young fathers, Forrest Register and Vince Edge, decided that a direct appeal to local government from citizens of the city of Dothan and its surrounding Houston County, AL, could help transform their community into one in which their children would grow up educated and happy and perhaps even want to stay as adults. Their first priority was to infuse new energy and relevance into the lethargic Houston County Library System (HCLS): at the time headquartered at a downtown branch that few people visited, although it was open seven days a week.
There’s something wonderful and seemingly simple about the photograph on the cover of this issue that I don’t want you to miss: the mayor of Wichita, KS, and the director of the library—Carl Brewer and Cynthia Berner Harris, respectively—standing side by side in a group of civic leaders and key staff. This coalition is “activating” Wichita with strategic thinking that is informed through an open town hall–style forum that taps solutions from the community. If your library isn’t part of such planning, and gathering a similar group in your library would be a no-go, you have work to do.
The Wichita Public Library (WPL), KS, has become a coalition builder for larger community goals. WPL signed on as an early “vision partner” with Visioneering Wichita, whose goal is to develop a strategic plan, through extensive community engagement, for the whole Wichita metropolitan area. Over the decades, WPL had established a growing engagement with the city’s residents. The Visioneering Wichita process gave that long-standing community engagement specific goals and direction. This reenergized engagement won for Wichita and its library the 2014 LibraryAware Community Award.
For mutually fostering a beneficial connection, Canton and its library have won the inaugural LibraryAware Community Award, cosponsored by Library Journal and LibraryAware, a product of EBSCO Publishing’s NoveList Division. The Canton Public Library will receive $10,000 and the township will receive a plaque. The award was created to honor a library for “getting out to the community and demonstrating its value” and to highlight a community that values its library, says Nancy Dowd, product lead for LibraryAware.