2008 LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award winner announced

Contact: Mary Taylor


(312) 280-4267


For Immediate Release,

February 5, 2008

2008 LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award winner announced

CHICAGO - Glenn Peterson is the 2008 recipient of the LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award for his development of EngagedPatrons.org. Engagedpatrons.org provides low-cost and free Web site services for public libraries. The site went live in May 2006, enabling even small- and medium-sized libraries the ability to offer high-quality Web services to their patrons, services that most would otherwise be unable to provide.

EP focuses on services that engage the library's patrons: interactive services that allow patrons to participate on their library's website. These services require computer programming expertise, often lacking within libraries and very expensive to hire on a contract basis. Drawing on more than 10 years experience developing Web sites for Hennepin County (Minn.) Library, founder Glenn Peterson created a series of “plug-and-play” Web services that libraries can integrate into their existing Web presence.

These services include:

  • Library events listings, including patron-initiated online registration;
  • Blogs, including patron comment capabilities;
  • Contact forms for soliciting patron feedback;
  • RSS feeds for events, blogs or other custom feeds;
  • Custom database applications for libraries wishing to make local databases Web-accessible.

EP hosts the services on its own Web servers; member libraries do not need to install any software or hardware. No programming is required; library staff use Web-based forms to enter the library's information, and EP's scripts do the rest.

EP works with individual libraries to customize EP services to blend into the look and feel of each library's Web site enabling the library's patrons to move seamlessly between EP-hosted services and the library's own web pages.

Services are free to libraries receiving less than $1 million per year in total income. For larger libraries, affordable annual fees apply to events listings and blogs, while other services are free to all.

In the first 18 months of operation, more than 200 libraries have become members; 39 states are represented, as well as Canada and New Zealand.

Founder Glenn Peterson has 25 years of experience working in libraries and has been a Web site developer for Hennepin County Library (HCL), Minn., since 1995. He received his M.A.L.S. from the University of Minnesota in 1985.

“EngagedPatrons.org is a labor of love, as well as being an innovative service to offer which enhances the delivery of library resources to end users,” said Nancy Colyar, chair of the award committee. “The committee selected Mr. Peterson for the 2008 award for the widespread effect of this technology, made available to a community that would never have the ability to provide Web services on their own.”

The LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award recognizes exemplary entrepreneurship by providing an innovative product or service designed to meet the needs of the library world. Sponsored by Gale®, a part of Cengage Learning, and the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), the award includes a check for $5,000 and a certificate of recognition. The award will be presented at the LITA President's Program on Sunday, June 28, 2008, at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) members are information technology professionals dedicated to educating, serving and reaching out to the entire library and information community.