Library of the Future Award recipient named

Contact: Cheryl Malden


For Immediate Release

April 2002

Library of the Future Award recipient named

Northwestern Regional Library, Elkin, N.C., is the 2002 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA)/Information Today Library of the Future Award.

The cash award of $1,500 and a citation donated by Information Today, Inc., honors 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.

Northwestern Regional Library won for its Libraries Doing More So Patrons Can Find More program, a technology-based resource sharing among public libraries in four poor rural counties in western North Carolina. Staff overcame numerous obstacles to provide a portal designed to assist the 163,000 residents of the region. While Northwestern Regional was one of the last libraries in the state to go online, it quickly set a new standard in the state for its up-to-date, Web-based, graphically attractive system. The portal links all of the holdings from the four-county system in an easy-to-use interface.

"The jury is impressed with the Northwestern Regional Library's coordinated efforts in acquiring the assorted bibliographic and circulation records of four rural counties and successfully merging them into a cooperative regional unit - providing information technology to populations largely underserved," said Chair Gail W. Avery. "Northwestern conscientiously provides information technology services to poor and rural communities."

The library has initiated shared resources and remote access services with an integrated OPAC that allows one library card for everyone's use. Northwestern has focused on addressing the burgeoning challenge facing many libraries today - the digital divide.

"Most importantly, Northwestern's efforts transcended its initial financial constraints, as proactive fund-raising practices and realized achievements have now generated additional funding avenues with huge success," Avery added.

The ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award will be presented Tuesday, June 18, during the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta.