Wichita Public Library (WPL) has been recognized as a national leader in improving the lives of residents in the community and creating lifelong learners. Mayor Carl Brewer joined WPL officials on Tuesday morning during a Wichita City Council meeting when officials from Library Journal presented the annual LibraryAware Community Award to both he and Director of Libraries Cynthia Berner-Harris.
“This award highlights the many ways the library staff works to connect with residents and enrich their lives,” Mayor Carl Brewer said. “It’s also another example of the many ways that City government is working to engage residents in ways that enhance our community.”
WPL started nearly a century ago as an institution on a mission to create readers and collect and organize the written word. WPL’s mission has since expanded to include creating lifelong learning opportunities, connecting citizens to technology and the online world, and promoting early literacy.
Learning opportunities abound at the Library and include: a partnership with SCORE that educates entrepreneurs and helps small businesses; Tuesday Topics, a monthly current event program co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters; and the Big Read one-book community reading program, which will enter its seventh year in 2014.
From infancy, children develop the skills they need to read. For this reason, the Library focuses on early literacy through its 6 by 6 program; Read to Rover programs offered in partnership with the Kansas Humane Society; and a “Check Up and Check Out” early literacy initiative with GraceMed Health Clinic and the State Library of Kansas.
WPL connects citizens to the larger world through technology. The Library offers free public computing and Wi-Fi, and has worked to engage citizens and connect them to community leaders through the creation of the Activate Wichita website. The Library supports citizen engagement initiatives through the site, which has generated more than 400 ideas for ways to improve the community.
The LibraryAware Community Award is underwritten by LibraryAware, a product of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services.