Wichita Public Library has been selected as the winner of the second annual LibraryAware Community Award, which highlights libraries that engage with their community to improve the lives of citizens and create life-long learners.
Wichita Public Library has been instrumental in the City of Wichita’s initiative to increase engagement with the residents, in part, by creating and managing the Activate Wichita website. The website has generated more than 400 ideas for ways to improve the community.
Atlantic County Public Library in New Jersey and Kitsap Regional Library in Washington were named finalists for the LibraryAware Community Award, which is given by Library Journal and underwritten by LibraryAware™, a product of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services.
The Wichita Library was also recognized for: Its involvement in small business development through a partnership with SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses; “Tuesday Topics,” current event programming co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters; Read to Rover programs offered in partnership with the Kansas Humane Society; a “Check Up and Check Out” early literacy initiative with GraceMed Health Clinic and the State Library of Kansas; teen volunteer programs providing opportunities for youth public service; the Library’s Academy Award Shorts program; and the Big Read one-book community reading program.
Director of Libraries Cynthia Berner Harris said the Library is pleased to share the award with the community.
“Through our partnerships and projects such as Activate Wichita, our Library strives to ensure that programs and services are meeting the needs of our residents. We are also bringing the power of citizen engagement into discussions about important community issues. Our board and staff are honored that these efforts are considered noteworthy. We look forward to celebrating this award selection with our community.”
The LibraryAware Community Award emphasizes a library’s engagement with the community and recognizes a library or library system that has demonstrated an ability to make its community “aware” of what the library can do for it—and has delivered on that promise.
“It’s so exciting to see the wide range of intelligent choices the leadership of the Wichita Public Library has made to integrate the library into the fabric of its community by connecting to the vision of the community’s civic leaders, and helping to identify citizens’ top priorities,” notes Rebecca T. Miller, Editorial Director of Library Journal and School Library Journal. “This library, not unlike the two finalists, is shaping the future of the place it serves, with the library front and center.”
LibraryAware Product Lead Nancy Dowd said the efforts of the award-winning libraries have made impacts on their communities.
“These winners really demonstrate what it means to have a library at the heart of the community,” she said. “Kudos to them for working together to make a difference in the lives of citizens.”
The winners are featured in an April 1 article of Library Journal. Wichita will receive its LibraryAware Community Award on Tuesday, June 3. Details of the event will be announced in May.