Library wins national award

library aware award topeka

Library 3rd in the nation, 2015 LibraryAware Community Award

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It’s a great day to celebrate the strong relationship between your library and your community.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library was given a 2015 LibraryAware Community Award by Library Journal and underwritten by LibraryAware™, a product of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services.

The Dothan Houston County Library System in Alabama was the first place recipient, Saint Paul Public Library in Minnesota was awarded second place, while third place went to Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library.

The award recognizes model communities that engage with their libraries to improve the lives of their citizens and create life-long learners.

Chief Executive Officer, Gina Millsap

Chief Executive Officer, Gina Millsap

“This is as much an award for our community as it is for the library itself,” said Gina Millsap, chief executive officer of the Topeka Library. “The community gives us opportunities to serve them in new and innovative ways.”

Several community involvement initiatives were recognized by Library Journal in an article published March 31:

  • The library’s involvement in the Heartland Visioning planning process, chaired by CEO Gina Millsap.
  • Its founding partnership with 712 Innovations, the downtown makerspace, in which an “embedded” librarian devotes 10-15 hours a week assisting local entrepreneurs and business owners.
  • Its 40-some librarian facilitators, who help community organizations work toward success.
  • Its Candidate School program, which invests in the future of Topeka through educating its future lawmakers.

“As a one-building library serving 180,000 people living in a 550 square mile area, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL) needs to be civic-minded—and with a wide range of programs and local initiatives, TSCPL lives up to its goals, serving members of the community at every level,” writes Library Journal author Lisa Peet.

The library will receive $5,000 as part of the award. A plaque will be presented to the community 11 a.m. June 3, during a Summerfest kick-off event.

“The library will use the award money to support its ‘With this Card’ campaign that encourages people to take advantage of all the ways their library can improve their lives,” said Millsap.

Leah Sewell

Leah is the Communications Editor for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, which basically means she’s an observer, collector and creator of library stories. She’s a veteran publisher and magazine editor who has brought her passion for all things literary and writerly to library communications. Leah has an MFA in writing from the University of Nebraska, is a published poet and author, a graphic designer, and has a very healthy obsession with books, podcasts, art and from-scratch cooking. She lives in Topeka with her two wily kids and a similarly unruly to-read pile.