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Three public libraries selected to receive OCLC Community Engagement Awards


Orange County Library System, Florida, Jackson District Library, Michigan,
Edmonton Public Library, Canada, recognized for outstanding programs

DUBLIN, Ohio, 21 July 2020—Three public libraries have been selected to receive OCLC Community Engagement Awards for outstanding programs that have transformed lives in the communities they serve.

The programs and libraries selected as OCLC Community Engagement Award winners are: Orlando Children's Business Fair, Orange County Library System (OCLS), Florida; Project BRIDGE: Building Relationships In Diverse Generational Experiences, Jackson District Library (JDL), Michigan; and Welcome Baby, Edmonton Public Library (EPL), Canada. Each library will receive $5,000 to help continue their outstanding efforts.

“Public libraries are incredibly resourceful and creative in engaging with their communities,” said Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO. “Libraries of all sizes submitted detailed descriptions nominating programs that reach into various communities of service. All of them are different and inventive. The programs recognized with these awards are exceptional. It’s our hope that they will spark ideas, inspire other libraries, and increase awareness among the general public about the great things public libraries do every day.”

The Orlando Children’s Business Fair is a one-day marketplace where children and teens debut their inventions, market services or products, and build marketing strategies. It is an extension of the Library's BizKids initiative which introduces young people to classes and events with a focus on promoting entrepreneurship and skills such as planning, marketing, financing, and more.

“Since 2017, the Orlando Children’s Business Fair has helped inspire hundreds of young people with a sense of wonder and entrepreneurship,” said Tony Orengo, Instructional Technology Specialist, OCLS. “In this one-of-a-kind experience, participants develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at the library’s one-day marketplace. Last year’s fair showcased 50 youth-run businesses and was visited by more than 700 people." 

Project BRIDGE (Building Relationships In Diverse Generational Experiences) is a wide-reaching plan for enhancing traditional outreach services with creative programs tailored to the needs of older adults, particularly those struggling with dementia and other memory impairments.

"Our Project BRIDGE programs have helped older adults, especially those with memory issues, connect with their families, continue to be creative and experience the calming effect of music,” said Sara Tackett, Director of JDL.

The first of its kind in Alberta, EPL’s Welcome Baby program puts books into the hands of Edmonton families. Parents receive a free package from the Library (a board book, music CD, tote bag and early literacy information) at their baby's two-month immunization.

“We are thrilled to receive the OCLC Community Engagement Award,” said EPL CEO Pilar Martinez. “Early literacy is an ongoing priority for EPL. Our goal is to ensure all families have equal access to the resources and tools necessary for a baby’s success later in life, which is why we started Welcome Baby.”

More than 120 libraries shared information about their community engagement projects with OCLC and were nominated for consideration. A panel of OCLC-elected member leaders selected the winners using a scoring system based on evaluating impact, innovation and engagement.

Visit the OCLC Community Engagement Award website for more details about each of the winning programs and register to attend a live webinar hosted by Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO, on August 18. During that event, representatives from each winning library will describe their programs in detail and answer questions about the challenges and successes of connecting with their communities.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC’s WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

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