2005 Library of the Future Award recipient named

Contact: Cheryl Malden

Program Officer


For Immediate Release

June 3, 2005

2005 Library of the Future Award recipient named

CHICAGO – Oberlin (Ohio) Public Library's The Bridge, a Community Technology Center, is the 2005 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA)/Information Technology Today Library of the Future Award.

The award of $1,500 and a citation donated by Information Today, Inc., honors an individual library, library consortium, group of libraries or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of, patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

The Oberlin Public Library is being recognized for its establishment and operation of The Bridge, Oberlin's Community Technology Center. The Bridge was founded by the Oberlin Public Library to help narrow the digital divide of a community, where 26 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Since its inception in 2000, membership in The Bridge has increased over 300 percent, and its clientele ranges from preschoolers to senior citizens. Nearly 1 in 4 local residents are registered users of the program. There are many diverse services, workshops, and classes offered by The Bridge, including courses in digital arts, and digital docents, as well as a technology camp, and software education sessions. User reports indicate that, in the past year, over 600 low-income residents have taken advantage of classes and other services.

“The vision of the Oberlin Public Library to create The Bridge as a separate organization and brand to meet the special needs of its low-income population is an outstanding example of the Library's ability, and flexibility, to adjust to local community needs,” said Ernest A. DiMattia, Jr., award chair.

The program recognizes the continuing evolvement of technology, especially software enhancements and Internet access. The Bridge is committed to continually reaching out to its community to involve as many individuals as possible with access and the ability to experience technology and the World Wide Web.

The Oberlin Public Library is congratulated on its innovative efforts to educate its entire community and eliminate any barriers that exist in each individual's ability to include technology in his or her everyday life. In the future, The Bridge will continue to expand its “workshops and youth programs, in order to narrow the digital divide and thereby attend to the American promise of equal opportunity.”

Members of the 2005 ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award jury are: Chair Ernest DiMattia, Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.; Alan Kirk Gray, Darien Library, Darien, Conn.; Tobi Oberman, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, Ill.; Patricia L. Owens, consultant, Canton, Pa.; Billie Peterson-Lugo, Baylor University Moody Memorial Library, Waco, Texas; James B. Stewart, Victoria Public Library, Victoria, Texas.

The ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award will be presented on Tuesday, June 28, 2005, during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.