Los Angeles County Library was just named Library of the Year by Gale/Library Journal for its outstanding community support, equity and inclusion, and creation of innovative services and partnerships that support the Library’s mission.
As the 2019 Library of the Year, LA County Library will be featured on the cover of Library Journal’s (LJ’s) June 2019 issue, available in print and online, and will be honored at a reception at the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference 2019 in Washington, DC. Established in 1992, each year the Library of the Year Award celebrates the library that most profoundly demonstrates service to the community, creativity and innovating in developing specific community programs or has seen dramatic increase in library use and leadership in creating programs emulated by other libraries.
This is the third honor LA County Library has received in the past 12 months from Library Journal following their wins for 2019 Librarian of the Year (given to Skye Patrick, Library Director) and 2018 Marketer of the Year (given to the Marketing & Communications team for its efforts in rebranding the organization). LA County Library is the first organization ever to win both Library of the Year and Librarian of the Year in the same calendar year, and the first organization to win all 3 awards and be featured on the magazine’s cover 3 times in less than a year. These awards are in addition to three other recent national recognitions: the Library was a Finalist for the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2019 National Medal, and won two National Association of Counties Achievement Awards for its iCount equity initiative and The Great Read Away, a fine forgiveness program for youth.
Of the prestigious accolade, LA County Library Director Skye Patrick said, “I am so proud of the dedicated and passionate staff we have at LA County Library. This is truly a well-deserved recognition of their creativity, hard work, and tireless efforts. We are grateful for the support we have received from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Chief Executive Office, and the County Departments we’ve collaborated with, as well as the multitude of agencies we’ve partnered with, and the people we serve. Thank you to Gale and Library Journal for this honor, and to our staff and partners for helping empower us to succeed in our endeavors and provide exemplary service to the communities of Los Angeles County.”
This award is a testament to the strength of the Library’s community-inspired services, like the Library’s Turns the Tables beginner’s DJ workshop for teens, The Great Read Away fine forgiveness program for youth, its Small Business Saturdays for entrepreneurially-inclined adults, digital camps for youth in underserved communities, its free high school diploma and career certificate program for adults, and mental health clinicians co-located at select libraries. The Library also takes its services outside of library walls, its MākMō maker mobiles, its Reading Machine early literacy vehicles, and its book kiosks in housing facilities for older adults and youth transitioning out of foster care.
Even in this digitally-inclined age, LA County Library remains a vital resource for its communities. The Library is currently upgrading its public computers and broadband to address the digital divide. In 2017, through the creation of more efficient staffing model, the Library was able to expand library service hours by 8% without an increase in operating costs. This year, overall attendance was up 5%, with 10.3 million customers visiting 87 libraries.
LA County Library has been innovative in re-envisioning traditional library programs to create new approaches to library programming. In addition, the Library adapts non-library program models to the library setting, bringing nationally-recognized, evidence-based programs to its communities—examples include implementation of the Positive Parenting Program, which helps parents navigate common childhood and teen issues, and setting up miniature libraries called Barbershop Books at 10 barbershop locations throughout the County.
“This is a very exciting time for libraries, and LA County exemplifies the creativity and care brought to our communities every day by these vital institutions,” said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal and School Library Journal. “We’ve been watching LA County Library under the leadership of Skye Patrick, who was recently named LJ’s Librarian of the Year. Now this honor signals how effectively the organization has adapted and evolved to set a standard of service worth emulating.”
About LA County Library
Founded in 1912, LA County Library is one of the largest and most innovative library systems in the US. It offers free public resources including books, music, multimedia materials, computer and internet access, and educational and recreational services to 3.4 million residents across 3,000 square miles through its 87 community libraries and mobile fleet of 18 vehicles, including 3 bookmobiles, 10 MākMō maker mobiles, and 5 Reading Machines. LA County Library is dedicated to reducing barriers and increasing access to and equity of public services for all. To learn more, visit LACountyLibrary.org.