October 13 , 2017

With funding around the United States and Canada constrained, libraries are leveraging the public's investment by finding innovative approaches to strengthen their communities. ULC recognized 20 libraries that are providing their communities with essential resources through inventive programs.

ULC's 2017 Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions were chosen by a panel of expert judges from over 250 creative submissions that spanned topics from race and social equity to civic engagement and economic development. The awards were presented to winning libraries during the 2017 ULC Annual Forum, Leading in a Democracy.

"Now, more than ever, libraries must act as leaders in their community to provide resources that many have taken for granted," said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton. "During times of economic and social difficulties, these libraries have stepped up to the challenge of inspiring change while helping their communities thrive."

The 2017 Award-Winning Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions include:

Learning: Birth through Teens
Top Innovator: Cedar Rapids Public Library - Summer Dare Everywhere
Honorable Mention: San Mateo County Libraries - Big Lift Inspiring Summers: Ending the Summer Slide

Learning: Adults
Top Innovator: St. Louis County Library - After Hours Computing
Honorable Mention: San Francisco Public Library "San Francisco's First Digital Inclusion Week"

Top Innovator: New York Public Library - MyLibraryNYC Special Collection for NYC Educators
Honorable Mention: The Indianapolis Public Library - From the Convenience of Your Home: Online Library

Customer Experience
Top Innovator: Gwinnett County Public Library - Restructuring Remote Customer Contact
Honorable Mention: Toronto Public Library - Leap into Literacy: Navigate the World Confidently

Positioning the Library
Top Innovator: Stark County District Library - Mobile Device SmartKits
Honorable Mention: King County Library System - Rainbow Teen Advisory Board

Workforce and Economic Development
Top Innovator: Dallas Public Library - GED Testing and Workforce Development Project"
Honorable Mention: Montgomery County Public Libraries - Road to Success: Workforce Development Programs

Race and Social Equity
Top Innovator: Madison Public Library - Hip-Hop Architecture Camp
Honorable Mention: Richland Library - Richland Library Social Awareness Taskforce

Civic and Community Engagement
Top Innovator: Lexington Public Library - On the Table Lex
Honorable Mention: Queens Library - Youth-to-Youth Teen Leadership Council at Flushing

Health, Safety and Sustainability
Top Innovator: Arlington Public Library - Energy Lending Library
Honorable Mention: Springfield City Library - Planting the Seeds of Health Literacy

Organizational Change and Strategic Management
Top Innovator: Los Angeles Public Library - Strategic Restructuring: Creating the Fourth Division
Honorable Mention: Pierce County Library System - Developing a Leadership Culture and Pipeline

All Innovations submissions can be viewed here. Each ULC library will receive a copy of the 2017 Innovations brochure.