Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2007

Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award named

CHICAGO –The Calgary Public Library, Alberta, Canada, has been chosen from among 29 entries to receive the 2007 Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award from the American Library Association (ALA). The winning project, "It’s Not a Crime to Read," pairs libraries, schools, and police officers in an effort to encourage at-risk children to read. It also develops positive collaboration between librarians and teachers.

The award, consisting of a $2000 cash prize and a plaque, will be presented at an award ceremony during the 2007 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, in June.

The project, now in its fifth year, connects Grade 2 and 3 students with books, reading, life–long learning and positive community relationships. Once a month throughout the school year, staff from the public library, accompanied by a police officer, visits a partner school, where the police officer reads to the students. Each student receives a library card and is encouraged to borrow from a selection of books brought to each session. At a final program in the school year, private funding provides a gift book for each student.

Some of the special events during the school year include field trips to a library, a visit from a celebrity author, and a Family Fun Night at the Library that involves all members of the students’ families, some of whom have never been exposed to the library.

The project has resulted in increased reading time and library use by the target population, as well as improved reading scores. During one cycle of the program, students increased their reading time by 28 percent and ranked reading as the number one activity to do when they were bored.

The project is credited with creating a focus on literacy in the fourth most ethnically diverse city in Canada. In addition, the involvement of police personnel provides a positive role model, raising the self-esteem of the children. The positive rapport established between the teachers and library staff is substantial.

Partnerships for the project currently include eight Calgary schools in the Northeast part of the city, six public library branches, five Calgary police districts, six Calgary Rotary Clubs, and one corporate funder.

Additional schools in the community have approached the library with requests for the program. The library is creating a model, complete with tools and templates that can be replicated by other public libraries.

"The Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award Jury was impressed by the partnerships created by the Calgary program, the rapport built among librarians and teachers and the model for replication by other public libraries," said chair Susan DiMattia of DiMattia Associates, Stamford, C onn. She noted that the jury had a very difficult time in selecting a winner because of the quality of the entries. Some of the other program entries addressed the needs of homeschoolers, shut-ins, adults with developmental disabilities, and multicultural neighborhoods. Some projects cooperated with other community organizations to provide special events, and exhibits services and special programs for teens

Other members of the 2007 Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award jury are: David S. Bryant, New Canaan Library, New Canaan, Conn.; James G. Johnston, Southington Library and Museum, Southington, Conn.; Tobi Oberman, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, Ill.; and Jacqueline Ka-Yin Sasaki, Ann Arbor District Library, Ann Arbor, Mich.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2008 Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award is December 1, 2007. Guidelines and application forms are available on the ALA web site at .