2004 Baker & Taylor Award Winners

Small Library Award

The Sugar Grove Public Library Friends of Sugar Grove, IL, worked in partnership with library staff, community leaders, and other organizations to plan 24 hours of activities and awareness for a Libraries Remember event on Patriot's Day, September 11, 2003. Beginning with a 12:01 a.m. flag raising ceremony conducted by the Boy Scouts complete with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol, and ending with the 11:55 p.m. closing of the library, the day was packed with food, fundraisers, and activities for all ages. Even with the program falling mid-week, enthusiasm, support, and attendance was high. The Friends and library staff hosted story times, patriotic movies, a night-time quilting bee, community gatherings, visits from local heroes with the Sugar Grove Police and Fire Departments, a book sale, silent auction, membership drive, and a coffee and snack bar. The library also sponsored hourly door prize drawings for gift books which were placed in the library collection in honor or memory of an individual or group. A final door prize was the flag flown at the library for the event which had been flown over The U.S. Capitol.

Library patrons and residents talked about the program for days after it was over. The information regarding the Libraries Remember Event was the most visited item on the library website for several months before and after the program. The program truly revitalized the Sugar Grove Public Library Friends and several new members were recruited. Money raised at the silent auction continues to help fund Friends’ initiatives and programs. Plans are underway for a second event on Saturday, September 11, 2004, when more even people, especially families, are expected to attend.

Large Library Award

Early in 1999, the Friends of Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, Wisconsin, partnered with the Janesville Noon Lions Club to create an innovative, reading-themed park adjacent to the library in downtown Janesville. A coordinating committee consisting of Friends and Lions Club members formed and developed the following goal: Using art and literature, transform the greenspace adjacent to the library along the Rock River into a unique and special park where neighbors, workers, residents, and visitors of all ages can find relaxation, enjoyment, and inspiration. Complementary goals include: 1) to celebrate the joy of reading and encourage the appreciation of art and literature; 2) to provide an inviting space that enables the library to bring its programming outdoors; and 3) to contribute to downtown development and renewal.

The first phase of the park is complete and the former open space now features colorful metal sculptures inspired by local children’s art, seating shaped like oversize books, a performance backdrop, benches, lighting, a bronze sculpture, and engraved brick pavers. More than 5,000 Janesville-area children from preschool through high school voted for their three favorite children’s books which were included on large, inscribed brick pavers placed under the storytelling tree in the park. Details and updates.

The 12 members of the Friends Board of Trustees provide oversight and input into the project. Other Friends members serve on the Park Coordinating Committee, Storybook Committee, and the Fundraising Committee. Still others contribute time working in the park by painting, planting trees, watering plants, and performing other maintenance and landscaping function. Friends and library volunteers have staffed booths where brocks were sold, worked on mailing crew, and helped with special events. The Friends have contributed more than $29,000 toward the $273,000 raised for the park project. The Park Coordinating Committee hopes to raise an additional $400,000 to complete additional phases of the park that will include more art, a river overlook, a fountain and riverwalk with railing.

@ your library® Award

Friends of the Houston Public Library in Houston, Minnesota made the best use of the @ your library® logo and campaign materials The Houston Public Library serves a small village and surrounding area of approximately 1,500. Being small didn’t stop a group of volunteers from deciding to establish a library, however. The city council was persuaded to adopt a new line item in the budget for a library and a building was donated. In order to refurbish and furnish the building making it suitable for a library the Friends of the Houston Public Library successfully raised $51,000! Only one issue remained – the donated building “resembled nothing more than a drab military bunker” according to the Friends. Inspiration struck and the group decided to wrap the building in a mural – the central feature being “find it @ your library!” With the help of 42 volunteers, ranging in age from 6 to 79, 333 hours were logged on the project. The result is “an eye-catching reminder of the importance of our local libraries, where one can explore the world and find anything.”

houston public library @ your library mural.