The Missouri Library Association has selected the Springfield-Greene County Library District as the 2016 Library of the Year. MLA will feature the Library at the Thursday, Oct. 6 awards reception during the 2016 MLA Conference in October in Springfield.
The nomination effort was kept a secret from Executive Director Regina Cooper, who learned about the award on Tuesday, July 19, when the MLA called her.
“I was so surprised and pleased to get the phone call this week telling me the Springfield-Greene County Library District is Library of the Year for MLA,” she said. “Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, because our staff is doing great things every day to serve the community!”
Every Library staff and support team member, in every role in every building can take professional pride in helping earn this award, she said.
The Library was nominated for a multitude of strengths, including empowering library staff to develop and implement projects to improve early literacy, health and social well-being of children and individuals in underserved or low-income neighborhoods and homes; developing partnerships with non-traditional organizations; and remaining fiscally responsible and making use of grants and gifts to introduce new services for patrons that other libraries can model.
Several individuals also said this about the Library in their letters of support:
From Dr. Rick Potts, curator of the spring 2016 Exploring Human Origins exhibit: “Many libraries across the US submitted excellent applications for the 19 slots that the traveling exhibit will visit over the course of two years (from April 2015-2017). In their application, the Library Center really knocked it out of the park; it was among the very best. The library’s history of addressing challenging issues within the community, the strong, diverse community consultation panel the Library Center developed for this project, and its thoughtful description of the potential challenges of discussing human evolution in Springfield, all made for an easy decision to award the Center one of the competitive slots. The Library Center fully embraced our goal of bringing to the public the scientific discoveries regarding human origins and, especially, our desire to create positive dialogue around what is often viewed as a sensitive topic.”
From Connie Bertka, co-chair Broader Social Impacts Committee, Smithsonian Human Origins Program: “… Clearly the library has established itself in the Springfield community as a resource for the entire community and as a meeting place for thoughtful public dialogue.”
From Springfield City Manager Greg Burris: “(The Library) continues to be a major community partner in many ways that are creative and unexpected of a traditional library system. Most of our conversations that are related to empowering, engaging and educating our citizens include Library representatives at the table. Why? Because our Springfield-Greene County Library leaders are proactive, involved and responsive to the needs of our citizens. They’re not ‘the library,’ they’re our partners.”