Edmonton Public Library (EPL) of Alberta, Canada has been named the 2014 Library of the Year by Library Journal magazine and Gale, part of Cengage Learning. Each year, this prestigious recognition goes to a public library that most profoundly demonstrates service to community, creativity, leadership and innovation in developing community programs.
For more than 100 years, EPL has been much more than a place to borrow books, notes Library Journal’s June 15 cover story on the winner. It is a place that galvanizes communities, connects people and expands minds. Today, EPL serves one of Canada’s fastest growing cities through its 17 branches operated by more than 600 employees who last year answered nearly 2.5 million questions and facilitated 5.2 million library visits (with another 4.7 million visits via their website). Every three seconds someone is borrowing from EPL. Their social media popularity with 20,000 Twitter followers and 9,000 Facebook fans leads almost all North American urban libraries.
“EPL embodies what libraries are and should be forward-thinking places that bring communities together and inspire lifelong learning while improving outcomes for users,” said Nader Qaimari, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Gale. “At Gale, we strive to do the same to engage learners of all kinds, to challenge the status quo and to improve lives and communities.”
EPL offers all of the essential library services a growing e-collection, literacy services, programming and more but what stands out most is its collaborative and innovative approach to service. EPL sheds the stereotypical image of library as a book repository and serves as a center of civic engagement. Community librarians at each branch integrate deeply with local institutions such as school districts, health centers and outreach groups in order to understand needs, eliminate barriers, and inform services and policies. Imagination is spurred through the makerspace a location dedicated to creating with technology such as 3D printers, game development software, a sound and recording studio and more. New branches have been designed or redesigned to focus on open space, collaboration, and sustainability, and a focus on lifelong learning, including online learning, helps ensure the success of individuals as well as the community.
“We’ve been watching Edmonton innovate for years, and it is a great pleasure to be giving the library this award,” said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director, Library Journal. “EPL exemplifies services that are finely attuned to community needs and there is plenty that libraries of any size can replicate, from the creation of a Social Return on Investment Report to the core of teams that address service areas to its unified strategy across all branches. The list just goes on and on.”
“We are extremely pleased and honoured to be named 2014 Library of the Year,” said Linda Cook, CEO of Edmonton Public Library. “EPL has a history of service innovation, library firsts, and a commitment to lifelong learning and development; and it is our staff’s talent, willingness to learn and adaptability that has led EPL to where it is today.”
The 2014 Library of the Year Award will be presented at a reception at the American Library Association Annual Conference on June 29, 2014.
About Cengage Learning and Gale
Cengage Learning (cengage.com | gale.cengage.com) is a leading educational content, technology and services company, empowering educators and driving learner engagement through personalized services and course-driven digital solutions that bridge from the library to the classroom. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs from homework help to health questions to business profiles in a variety of formats.
About Library Journal
Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 75,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJ. Library Journal reviews over 8000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and websites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. For more information, visit libraryjournal.com. Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library Journal, The Horn Book publications, and Junior Library Guild.