You have many reasons to be proud of your library and many reasons to have faith in your library’s commitment to excellence. Here are just a few recent awards and endorsements from local and national organizations.
Library wins Library of the Year award
Each year, Library Journal looks for role model libraries to vie for the honor of being named the Library Journal / Gale Cengage Learning Library of the Year. More than 9,595 public libraries in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to apply for the $10,000 prize celebrating the library that most profoundly demonstrates creativity, innovation, leadership and outstanding service to its community.
As the 2016 Library of the Year, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library was the Library Journal cover story on June 15, 2016 and was honored with a gala reception by the American Library Association June 26, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Past winners have gained immeasurable prestige within North America and their home communities, and considerable national media coverage. It is an honor that resonates for a lifetime.
Betsy Roe Wins Outstanding Art Educator 2018-2019
In October 2018 Betsy Roe, associate curator/educator in the library’s Alice C. Sabatini Gallery received the Outstanding Art Educator Museum Education award from the Kansas Art Education Association. Betsy leads several regular art events for the library including Art Detectives, Art in Common, Art & You and STEAM Power. She also leads an annual program that enables a small group of local high school students to curate an art exhibit in the Sabatini Gallery. As an artist, Betsy’s work is sculptural fibers and focuses on ecological concerns such as the preservation of Kansas prairies in the Flint Hills.
Library receives Women Empowerment Prevention Award
In July 2017 the library received the Women Empowerment Prevention Award from Women Empowerment, Inc. This award is given annually to a community partner that demonstrates exceptional service and dedication to our youth and community, while acting on behalf of Women Empowerment, Inc. It is a prestigious honor that serves to recognize the best of the best within our community.
During 2011, the library supported Women Empowerment’s Save Your Self program as a pilot with excitement and gusto. Fast Forward to 2017, Women Empowerment hosts more than 200 young girls annually at various locations throughout the county.
Shawnee County receives Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Honors
In June 2017 the library was part of a group of Shawnee County leaders to receive Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Honors for the county being a 2016 Pacesetter Community by demonstrating exemplary work in meeting the criteria for one or more aspects of the Campaign’s framework for success, scale and sustainability.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading focuses on reading proficiency by the end of third grade, with a goal of ensuring that children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate from high school prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Shawnee County’s leadership is making a significant contribution toward achieving that goal.
Donna Rae Pearson judges Kansas History Day State Contest
Local history librarian Donna Rae Pearson served as a judge for the Kansas History Day State Contest in April 2017. Students in grades 6 – 12 participated in the contest held at Washburn University. Students presented their research projects around the 2017 theme Taking a Stand in History. The presentations included dramatic performances, documentaries, research papers, websites and three-dimensional exhibits.
Library IT work highlighted in technology magazine
The library’s Digital Services staff members Joey Embers, David King and Brian Mithen were interviewed for a StateTech magazine article. Library staff were interviewed on the Hyperconverged system they recently installed in the library’s data center. StateTech is a national trade publication for state and local government technology.
Library leaders present at 2017 Computers in Libraries Conference
Library CEO Gina Millsap presented the keynote presentation, a breakout presentation and was part of a panel discussion at the Computers in Libraries annual conference in March 2017. The library’s Director of Digital Services David King presented a half-day workshop on technology trends at the conference.
Millsap shared her secrets to becoming a role model for libraries around the world. She discussed how the roles of librarians and libraries are changing to be community leaders and change agents. Librarians are the new superheroes – developing new toolkits, skills and relationships to facilitate positive change in their communities.
Library wins gold and silver at AAF Awards
The library won top honors at the American Advertising Awards annual recognition of design professionals on February 4, 2017.
The Learn & Play Bus mural wrap, designed by Michael Perkins, earned a Gold award in the “Out-Of-Home and Ambient Media Public Service” category. Perkins was also recognized with a Silver award for the National Library Week Celebrity Librarians READ posters. He photographed the celebrities and used those photos in his design of the 12 READ posters.
Kari Zimmerman named to Leadership Topeka Class of 2017
The library’s Volunteer Coordinator Kari Zimmerman was selected to participate in Leadership Greater Topeka 2017. A program of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Topeka identifies outstanding potential leaders from across the community and teaches them how to lead in a community setting.
Thirty-six class members attended a retreat and eight day-long sessions between January 12 and May 5 to learn about challenges facing the City of Topeka and Shawnee County, and how they can work to influence community issues and problems.
Book Rich Environment Initiative
Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is one of 35 libraries invited to participate in the Book Rich Environments (BRE) Initiative. BRE is the first national initiative that brings the local public library and public housing agencies together on behalf of children and families living in public housing. BRE was formally launched on January 5, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The Urban Libraries Council identified our library as a potential partner because of our collaboration with the Topeka Housing Authority.