CHICAGO — The American Library Association has named the Community Collaboration for Enhanced Technology Services at the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library the 2013 winner of the ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award. This award is presented annually to a library that demonstrates innovative planning and development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.
The Community Collaboration for Enhanced Technology Services project was submitted by Erica Bess, team leader for adult services on behalf of her colleagues at Princeton Public Library. The goal of the project was for Princeton Public Library to be known as the place in town to visit for receiving excellent technology assistance and discovering technological innovations; a goal easier said than done in a region known as both a technological and intellectual hub. The Princeton team noted that “by leveraging the community’s talent and providing an opportunity for unique groups to form professional relationships in a welcoming, accessible, and inspiring environment, Princeton Public Library is actively contributing to the larger evolution of the times while addressing and helping define our customers’ needs. Our success in attracting those ever-elusive demographics – young business people, highly creative entrepreneurs, and technology experts – means that the future of the library as cornerstone of technological education and innovation is a bright one.” In addition, the program also allowed the library to promote existing services, such as eBooks, and better serve existing users who rely on the library for both access to technology and classes on its use.
The award committee agreed that the Princeton Public Library has more than exceeded its goal. The library has developed a model for libraries of all types, which includes something for everyone, from users who had no computer experience to experts who were encouraged to teach and attend networking events. Classes spanned a variety of topics, including Downloading eBooks, Coding Bootcamp for Teens, Google+ for Small Business, Basics of Programming Using Python, Databases for Jobseekers, Gadgets for Holiday Giving and How to Get a Free Credit Report. In addition, the program brought people together to talk technology with ask-the-experts workshops, coding camps, online discussion groups and tech meet ups.
The committee praised the Princeton Public Library team for incorporating what they were hearing from their community to develop a program that provides classes and one-on-one appointments that encourage a lifelong love of technology learning, enhances employment opportunities, harnesses the power of social networking and promotes work-life balance, providing opportunities that helped participants learn new skills and enhance existing skills, positioning the library as “the place” in the community where people can come to share and network around technology and pioneering a model that is flexible, inviting, inclusive and sustainable by leveraging community expertise and tailoring classes and interactions to make them accessible to a variety of skill levels and interests.
Members of the 2013 ALA Information Today/Library of the Future Award Jury are: Amy Wallace, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, Calif. (chair); Barbara Burd, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, S.C.; Holly Carroll, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, Colo.; Janet Fore, Saint Mary’s College Cushwa, Notre Dame, Ind.; and Jasmine Posey, Greenwich Library, Greenwich, Conn.
The Library of the Future Award will be presented on, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The deadline for submission of applications for the 2014 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Guidelines and applicationforms are available on the ALA website.