Library of the Year

LOTY web graphic

Congratulations, Topeka and Shawnee County! Your library has been named Library of the Year, the highest honor in the U.S. & Canada.




We won Library of the Year because of your support and the opportunities we’ve had to make a difference in our community:

• Creating community leaders both internally and through educational programs for the public

• Creating facilitators among our management and staff to provide guidance at vital community conversations

community workshop

A resident of North Topeka at Garfield Park Community Center shares thoughts at a community meeting led by the library and Heartland Visioning, August 10, 2015.

• Creating internal change to streamline productivity and foster a staff of respected community ambassadors

staff day group shot

Our staff of 225 at staff day, 2016

• Creating connections between our services and collections and the residents who need them in every far-reaching corner of the county, and through valuable community partnerships

• Creating data-based services through conversations and examinations that guide our response to community needs

• Creating community change through community impact goals aligned with your goals and dreams for the future of Topeka and Shawnee County

To find out more about why we won the award, take a look at our award application (PDF). See what Library Journal had to say about this achievement.

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 is the Library Journal cover story on June 15, and is honored with a gala reception by the American Library Association June 26 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.

View our video: Because Libraries Transform

Leah is a former employee and wrote many stories and articles for the library.

3 thoughts on “Library of the Year

  1. I was so pleased to see my hometown library on the cover of Library Journal! Congratulations to the staff of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library on being named Library of the Year. As a librarian, I know what an honor this is! The library has changed since I was a regular user over 30 years ago, but it continues to be an asset to the community. Well done!

  2. Leah Sewell, I have a suggestion: Why not gather library stories from patrons about how the library has changed their lives. I know my dynamic and rich life story of 60 years would have been miserable without libraries and may have ended up being cut short without the recourses available through libraries. ed

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