Plano Public Library wins 2021 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award
For Immediate Release
Cheryl M Malden
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Plano Public Library (Plano, Texas) has been selected to receive the 2021 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award. The award, sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and Information Today Inc., annually recognizes innovative planning, application, or development of focused patron support relating to information technology in libraries and is given to an individual library or library consortium, group, or support organization.
Plano Public Library (PPL) was selected for its innovative use of technology to provide one-on-one tech training to seniors, Brain Injury Network of Dallas club members, and ESL students. PPL serves a diverse community of 285,000 through five libraries and proactive outreach, which takes staff into the community, raising awareness of the many free library resources. PPL embraces its role in helping to bridge the digital divide in their community. PPL took tech training to underserved adults through outreach classes utilizing library devices, library staff and corporate volunteers. Library staff provided innovative training serving partners including the Chase Oaks Family Center, the Brain Injury Network of Dallas (BIND), and local senior living facilities.
- PPL bilingual staff provided tech classes for English language learners at Chase Oaks Family Center following their ESL classes. The nonprofit’s staff provided childcare for students and translation assistance; library staff focused on computer and technology skills.
- Strengthening an existing partnership, PPL added monthly tech training for the Brain Injury Network of Dallas. The nonprofit’s members are rebuilding skills after experiencing brain injury, cancer, or stroke, and some are preparing to reenter the workforce. Library staff provided one-on-one assistance during technology training classes.
- Multiple senior living facilities received visits from library staff to engage residents with digital technology such as eBooks and other online learning resources. Staff provided seniors with one-on-one instruction and assistance. Participants learn how to access the library's free eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines.
As a result of this project, hundreds of people with barriers now feel more confident using technology (after training). In addition, staff embrace the role of tech trainer and enjoy helping improve patrons’ skills, partners recognize the library as a source for technology training and helpful resources for their clients/members, and many participants signed up for library cards after learning about the benefits of library resources.
Information Today Inc., a publishing company, is a leader in providing libraries with resources to meet knowledge management needs.
The 2021 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award jury members include: Jodie Gambill, LTDS web development lead; librarian for digital projects, Vanderbilt University; Jahala Simuel, head of access services and medical librarian, Howard University; Marcus Lowry, library manager, Ramsey County Library; Annie Zeidman-Karpinski, Singer Science Librarian , University of Oregon; and Lavoris Martin, associate librarian Emeritus, University of Arkansas at Pine bluff, chair.
The ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award will be presented to the Plano Public Library, Sunday, June 27 during the American Library Association virtual Annual Conference.