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Congratulations to the Winners of the First Annual LibraryAware Community Award!

Post by Nancy Dowd
Posted March 26, 2013 in Special Announcements

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Local Girl Scouts help Canton Library with their Stuff the Truck event to benefit the Detroit Area Diaper Bank
Photo courtesy of the Canton Public Library

Skokie Public Library Director Carolyn Anthony (center) working at the Chamber of Commerce Booth at the Festival of Cultures
Photo courtesy of the Skokie Public Library

Hartford Public Library Chief Executive Officer Matthew K. Poland attends a new year’s celebration held at the library by local Karen people who have immigrated to the area from Burma.
Photograph Courtesy of Hartford Public Library/Pramod Pradhan

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the winners of the first ever LibraryAware Community Award.

This award emphasizes how libraries are a vital part of the health, well-being, and prosperity of the communities they serve. All three of the winners go above and beyond the qualifications outlined in the award. I’d like to take a minute to tell you how each of them stood out as head and shoulders above the rest.

First place, Canton Public Library (MI)

In Canton, the public library takes that dusty and outdated stereotype of libraries as book storage buildings and not only turns it upside down, but turns it sideways, frontways, and every other way. CPL partners with local organizations to plan things like the Stuff the Truck event to benefits the Detroit Area Diaper Bank. CPL serves as more than just a library; it is a community resource center, advocate for residents of all cultural and economic backgrounds, and significant contributor to overall community vitality.

Second place, Skokie Public Library (IL)

With a proven record of being in touch with the concerns of the Village of Skokie, the Skokie Public Library is a leader in the development of a wide variety of support programs for recent immigrants and other community members in transition – ranging from literacy promotion, to workforce development, to digital literacy.

Third place, Hartford Public Library (CT)

Hartford has some of the highest illiteracy, poverty, and unemployment rates in the country. Rather than letting this be a discouragement to their efforts, the Hartford Public Library has instead confronted the problem head-on, and is now playing a key role in the revitalization of the community. With nearly half of the population served speaking a language other than English at home, the HPL has effectively established cross-cultural understanding, early literacy, adult learning, and civic engagement as priorities.

I am thrilled to be a part of recognizing and supporting these winners, as well as the over 100 libraries that applied, in their efforts at transforming their communities. Reading through the applications, I was ecstatic to see all the great work these libraries are doing – and I don’t envy the judges who had to decide on the winners!

I offer my congratulations to the winners and my gratitude to all the libraries that applied for the amazing work they have done and continue to do. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each them!




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