ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award

About the ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award
An award to honor an individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

Administered by:

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2020 Recipient(s)

Broward County Library

Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Library was selected for its innovative use of a now-common household device, Amazon’s Echo, to bridge language barriers as part of its Project Welcome initiative. BCL created Project Welcome to welcome English-language learners to the area, inform them of BCL resources, and support them on their journey to English literacy, economic prosperity and belonging. 

Project Welcome targets families in the county’s largest non-English speaking communities who speak Spanish, Haitian Creole and Portuguese. The whole program is facilitated using the voice services of Alexa via the Amazon Echo, which is used at every public service point. Using Alexa, staff are able to translate words and phrases from English to other languages to help communicate more easily with patrons. For those languages not supported by Alexa, the library uses dedicated tablets.