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Congratulations to the Winners of the 2014 LibraryAware Community Award!

Post by Nancy Dowd
Posted June 24, 2014 in

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Whew! I just got back from a whirlwind trip to three cities to present the LibraryAware Community Award to our 2014 winners. This is the second year I’ve had the honor of presenting this award and once again, one word says it all: partnerships.

The thing that struck me about Kitsap Regional Library was that they are always concerned about the outcomes of their partnerships. Sure, they have the numbers (200 active partnerships) and have included community engagement as part of their strategic plan, but here is a library that is constantly striving to ensure their partnerships are helping other organizations achieve success. Just look at the partnership they have with The Coffee Oasis, a non-profit organization committed to help homeless and street-oriented youth. The existing program includes helping kids learn to become baristas in the coffee shop. Kitsap helped take their work to the next level by securing a grant for a new program, BiblioTech, that introduces those same kids to cutting-edge technology training and mentorship. We are always talking about the power of libraries, Kitsap reminds us that where there’s a glimmer of potential, there’s opportunity for change.

Kitsap is LibraryAware Plaque Presentation 

Traveling to the Brigantine Branch of the Atlantic County Library System (ACLS) gave me a chance to meet up with many old friends. But to hear about the new initiatives that have begun to grow as the result of the library’s partnership with the community has been so exciting.  As you’ll remember, ACLS won for their work in creating the Sandy Stories Project -- a feature film that documented the impact Hurricane Sandy had on their community. The partnerships that were created continue to grow in order to meet the mental health needs of the community. I believe the work they are doing is just the beginning. I suspect, one day, it will become a national initiative for libraries.

The Brigantine Group with Their Plaque

From the time we set foot in Wichita, there was no doubt as to why they won the award. The idea that they would develop an online program to help their community engage in conversations over the issues facing their community was pretty impressive. This is a library that is totally focused building partnerships, finding opportunities and working together to solve problems.  They made me think of the famous George Bernard Shaw quote, “Some people see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not?” 

That's One Big Check!  Wichita Award Presentation

I am so proud of the work these libraries are doing. It continues to be true that a community that is aware of its library’s value is a thriving place to live. These three communities are wonderful examples of LibrayAware communities.

Nancy Dowd is the Product Lead for LibraryAware. Her passion is helping libraries connect to their communities.