ALA recognizes four library programs as top cutting-edge services in third annual contest

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/23/2012

Contact:

Jacob Roberts
Communications Specialist
Washington Office (WASH)
800-545-2433 8236
jroberts@alawash.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) have selected programs at Contra Costa County Library in Pleasant Hill, Calif., New Canaan High School Library in New Canaan, Conn., New York Public Library in New York and Scottsdale Public Library in Scottsdale, Ariz., as the winners of the association's third annual contest to honor cutting-edge technologies in library services.

In November 2011, a joint OITP and LITA subcommittee serving under the OITP Program on America's Libraries for the 21st Century (AL21C) issued its call for nominations for best library practices using cutting-edge technology to showcase libraries that are serving their communities with novel and innovative methods. Last year, four libraries were cited for their outstanding work.

"This year's winners represent thoughtful and creative engagement with technology trends, including QR codes, open-source software, social media, GIS, and mobile applications," said Christine Lind Hage, director, Rochester Hills Public Library, who chaired the selection subcommittee.

"The selection committee received nearly double the number of submissions than in previous years, so competition was very strong from around the country and all types of libraries. We are excited to recognize 'the best of the best,' and increase awareness of these innovative initiatives."

About the Winners:

  • Snap & Go, Contra Costa County Library, Calif. 
    Using QR (Quick Response) codes, Snap & Go serves as an innovative delivery mechanism for traditional library services. From local transit ads to posters to newspaper ads, Contra Costa County is delivering instant access to library materials and services to cardholders with mobile phones. By scanning the code with a reader on their phones, users are directed to downloadable e-books and audiobooks, virtual museum passes, interactive reference service, account and catalog search and readers' advisory tools. QR codes placed on popular titles take readers to "read-alike" lists created by library staff. Usage of the library's mobile site has increased 16 percent since Contra Costa implemented Snap & Go. http://guides.ccclib.org/qr
  • Participatory Platforms for Learning, New Canaan High School Library, Conn.
    New Canaan's Participatory Platforms for Learning program strives to cultivate curiosity throughout the learning community and encourage experimentation with new tools for content creation, publication and participation. The program includes deploying the full complement of Google applications; advocating a culture of intellectual freedom; using Twitter for current events research; and using Facebook groups for students to record their research process and provide feedback to others in the group. The program enmeshes learning and the "real world" to teach students digital citizenship by encouraging them to become responsible information consumers, creators and contributors in the public domain. Their online portal is at: http://nchslibraryannex.blogspot.com/
  • Map Warper Toolkit, New York Public Library, New York
    The Map Warper toolkit allows staff and the public to virtually stretch (or geo-rectify) historical maps onto a digital model of the world à la Google Maps or OpenStreetMap, transforming old atlases into interactive spatial environments. Participants also can go deeper, tracing and transcribing specific map features into a growing public database. The project adds to the historical and scholarly record while engaging library patrons in building digital resources. The service is managed by the NYPL Labs group, developed in collaboration with EntropyFree, an open source geospatial software firm. The tools are in the process of being published to an open code repository for other libraries, scholars and cultural heritage workers to use and build upon. http://maps.nypl.org
  • Gimme Engine, Scottsdale Public Library, Ariz.
    The Gimme Engine mobile website helps customers find a great book to read based on a library staffer's recommendation and review. Gimme combines library catalog MARC data, content enrichment service images and descriptions and library staff book reviews on Goodreads.com to create a unique experience. Gimme, which was developed with monies received from an LSTA grant, was created to meet a need stated by both library and non-library users; they wanted book recommendations powered by library staff. The Gimme engine is a creative solution to meet these customer needs. You can use Gimme for yourself by visiting: http://gimme.scottsdalelibrary.org

AL21C Associate Director Larra Clark said ALA OITP will host a program about these four services during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim (June 21-26) and will make detailed descriptions of each available online in order to share successful models for delivering quality library service in new ways. Additional information is available at www.ala.org/cuttingedge.

About LITA
Established in 1966, LITA is the leading organization reaching out across types of libraries to provide education and services for a broad membership of over 3,000 systems librarians, library administrators, library schools, vendors and many others interested in leading edge technology and applications for librarians and information providers. For more information, visit www.lita.org, or contact the LITA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4268; or e-mail: lita@ala.org

About ALA OITP
The Office for Information Technology Policy advances ALA's public policy activities by helping secure information technology policies that support and encourage efforts of libraries to ensure access to electronic information resources as a means of upholding the public's right to a free and open information society. It works to ensure a library voice in information policy debates and to promote full and equitable intellectual participation by the public. For more information, visit www.ala.org/oitp.

American Library Association