ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award winner

Contact:Â Cheryl Malden

Program Officer



For Immediate Release

March 31, 2009

CHICAGO - The American Library Association has named  the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library (IMCPL)  the 2009 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 winning initiative was IMCPL’s “The Learning Curve @ Central Library” project, an outstanding programming space (both physical and virtual) that provides a high tech, high energy, hands-on information environment designed for today’s children. In a flexible environment surrounded by books, children in the Learning Curve participate in activities that are infused with digital elements reflecting the ideal synthesis of technology and traditional literacy that children need to successfully face the future.

From toddlers to teens, children are growing up within an ever-changing world of technology and electronic media. The advancements we have seen in the last few years have not just changed how children interact with and use information; they have set new standards for how children learn. Children must be able to effectively access, organize and analyze vast amounts of information, express ideas creatively and make connections that result in new knowledge. To accomplish any of this, of course, children need to be strong readers, good writers and insightful thinkers.

Through real and virtual activities kids who attend programs at IMCPL’s Learning Curve have the opportunity to use technology in productive ways that reinforce basic information literacy skills. For example, using a computer, synthesizer and digital camera, kids can make their own digital books, songs, photos or videos. They can then share their creations on the plasma screen with other visitors in The Curve or add them to virtual CurveWorld "galleries".

When advised of the library’s successful award application, Project Director Chris Cairo said, “The Learning Curve staff is pleased to win this coveted award. Trail blazing can be lonely, so it is gratifying when successful innovation is recognized. Receiving this award encourages the Curve to continue pushing the ‘digital envelope’ by developing new models for the Library industry. The Public Library and the entire Indianapolis community are honored.” Ms. Cairo also extended an invitation for everyone to visit the Learning Curve @Central Library to experience this information literacy laboratory for learning. The announcement was made by Janie Hermann, chair of the ALA jury appointed to adjudicate applications submitted for consideration of this award.

“The award jury members were impressed by this innovative initiative that provides a ‘High Tech Tool Box’ for young minds. The ‘Library of the Future’ concept is about more than just technological advancement, it is about engaging communities with technology to create a better future. By reinforcing literacy skills in such a unique and interactive environment, IMCPL is providing beneficial learning opportunities for the children they serve,” Hermann said.

For more information about IMCPL’s The Learning Curve @ Central Library please visit:

The members of the 2009 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award Jury are: Janie Hermann, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, N.J.; Romina Gutierrez, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, N.J.; Robert Johnston, Lemoyne College Library, Syracuse, N.Y.;Â Carol Lynn Schuetz, Baylor University Libraries, Waco, Texas; Amy Wallace, California State University Libraries, Camarillo, Calif.

The Library of the Future Award will be presented on Tuesday, July 14, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The deadline for submission of applications for the 2010 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award is Dec. 1. Guidelines and application forms are available on the ALA Web site: