County Board of
San Diego County Library (SDCL) has received a national award, and its Ramona branch was recently honored for a collaborative literacy program.
Library Journal magazine and Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a publisher of research and reference resources for libraries, schools and businesses, have selected San Diego County Library the 2012 Library of the Year.
In addition to a cash award of $10,000, San Diego County Library will be featured as the cover story for the June 15 issue of Library Journal and at LibraryJournal.com. SDCL plans to use the award money to provide support for library materials.
San Diego County Board of Education honored Ramona Library recently for its collaborative partnership with the Ramona Unified School District in its promotion of literacy, reading, and education.
“SDCL has always been and always will be about the people. The people we serve give us our purpose — they inspire our dedicated staff to provide the best services possible,” said José Aponte, San Diego County Library director. “There is no greater way to honor our community, our staff, and our library. We’re delighted to receive this recognition from Gale and Library Journal.”
According to 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, particularly programs that can be emulated by others.”
“Despite massive budget cuts in a time of overwhelming need for California residents, the San Diego County Library has demonstrated ingenuity, creativity, and perseverance in serving the needs of all residents — and has done so with record-breaking success,” said Francine Fialkoff, editor-in-chief of Library Journal. “We’re thrilled to name them Library of the Year.”
San Diego County Library serves a population of over one million and has 33 branches.
The county library has faced budget cuts of 30 percent over the past three years but through programming and strategic budget allocation has tripled its materials circulation and quadrupled program attendance over the last six years.
Aponte has encouraged staff to develop programming ideas for library customers of all ages. Last year, SDCL offered more than 22,000 programs, with an attendance of nearly half a million. Since 2005, programming has grown five-fold, and attendance has more than quadrupled. In the past six months, SDCL increased adult programming by 20 percent.
A few of the many programs offered include: Parent Education/Platicas de Vida – fulfilling a need for bilingual parental guidance for parents of school-age youth; Off-Site Summer Reading Club; Service Learners, a volunteer program for teens; Health and Fitness Programming; and Professional Group Study to help new refugees.
SDCL has also partnered with housing authorities to offer free home clinics, providing information so patrons can make educated financial and legal decisions about their homes. The program has been replicated in other counties.
The 2012 Library of the Year Award will be presented formally at a gala reception at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim on June 24. For more information, contact Polly Cipparrone at firstname.lastname@example.org.