Ann Burlingame, deputy director of Wake County Public Libraries, receives 2015 Sullivan Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/24/2015


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer



CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the 2015 Peggy Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children has been awarded to Ann Burlingame, deputy director of Wake County Public Libraries, which is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Sullivan Award is presented annually to an individual in a library administrator role who has shown exceptional understanding and support of public library service to children. The award will be presented at the ALA President’s Program, Sunday, June 28, 2015 at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Burlingame has been passionate about children’s services from her earliest days at the University of North Texas, where she earned her master’s degree in Library science, specializing in services to children. After establishing her commitment to children’s services while working at East Brunswick (New Jersey) Public Library, Burlingame joined Wake County Public Libraries (WCPL) in 1990 as the manager of youth services at the North Regional Library. Over the next 19 years, she took on increasingly more responsible roles, eventually being named Deputy Director in 2009, which includes oversight for youth services programming and collections.

Burlingame’s leadership and focus on children’s services has benefited WCPL patrons and the community tremendously. She introduced Mother Goose time at the North Regional Library, giving pre-walkers and adult caregivers the opportunity to gain early literacy skills, the model for Baby Storytime currently offered throughout WCPL.  Teens and tweens took advantage of The Teen Library Corps, a service program for middle and high school students which has been expanded to all libraries in WCPL as the Teen Leadership Corp.  As an administrator, she successfully ensured that every library branch, no matter what size, had a dedicated professional youth services librarian on staff. And, despite a loss of 50 percent of the materials budget, WCPL rolled out the nationally known early literacy program Every Child Ready to Read (ECR2R), in large part due to Burlingame’s revitalization of youth programming across the library system. ECR2R was quickly followed by Every Reader Ready to Succeed in 2013, a complimentary program designed for school-aged children and Click, Watch, Learn: Storytimes Online, available via WCPL’s YouTube channel, which offers caregivers the chance to view ECR2R concepts via animated videos from home. Expanding teen programming, WCPL launched Every Teen Ready to Lead in 2014, providing tweens and teens a chance to take leadership roles while volunteering in programs, such as Reading Buddies and Homework Help offered for younger children.

Building partnerships has also been an important part of Burlingame’s impact at WCPL and within the community. WCPL enjoys collaborations with the Wake Veteran’s Services Office and Durham VA Medical Center, the North Carolina State Fair, and the Marbles Kids Museum. In 2013, WCPL was awarded a $125,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to create a financial education programming for preschoolers and their adult caregivers. These partnerships allow WCPL staff to offer outreach and share library resources while taking advantage of local events and cultural institutions to enhance its services.

Burlingame’s professional contributions are significant as well. She has served as the president of the Children’s Services Section of the NCLA and on the Youth Advisory Committee for the State Library Commission, and co-chaired the NCLA conference programming committee. Burlingame has also taught children’s literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Elena Owens, West Regional Library manager, who nominated Burlingame, wrote that “Throughout her career with WCPL, Ann has made every effort to ensure services to children remain at the forefront of Wake County’s priorities, continually assessing, enhancing and expanding the youth services program of service.” In fact, FY2012/2013 data from the State  Library of North Carolina indicates that WCPL offered more programs for children (7360) than any other library system in the state, and circulated 6.3 million juvenile materials, nearly 3 times the number circulated by its closest North Carolina peer institution. WCPL’s Director Michael Wasilick adds “Ann has long championed youth services, emphasizing engagement with children and their families, building relationships within the community and making certain that the library experience for our youngest patrons is positive.  Under her leadership Wake County and its patrons have benefited from the expansion, design, and delivery of children’s programming.”

“Though we had other strong nominations, the 2015 Sullivan Award committee was unanimous in their selection of Ann Burlingame,” said Dodie Ownes, 2015 jury chair. “Ann richly deserves the Sullivan Award for her lasting contributions and support of library services to children,” stated Luis Herrera, jury member and 2014 Sullivan award winner. Jury member John Jaffe noted “As an individual practitioner and as an administrator, Ann has both worked herself and designed and created the possibility of children's services on a broad scale.”

Members of the 2014 Sullivan Award Committee are: Chair Dodie Ownes, adult services librarian, Douglas County Libraries, Highlands Ranch, Colorado; Stacy Creel, assistant professor, University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi, School of Library and Information Science; Luis Herrera, City Librarian, San Francisco Public Library; John Jaffe, director of integrated information systems/CIO, Helen Mary Cochran Library, Sweet Briar College, Virginia; Robert Wright, library director, Idaho Falls Public Library, Idaho.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2016 Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children is Dec. 1, 2015.  Guidelines and applications are available on the ALA website.