Established nearly 50 years ago, the Urban Libraries Council aims to enrich their 150 (and growing!) member communities by promoting the urban library as an essential public asset that helps communities strengthen their efforts in education, workforce and economic development, digital literacy and inclusion, civic engagement, and race and social equity. For 10 years the ULC has hosted the Innovations Initiative showcase, recognizing both Top Innovators and Honorable Mention submissions.
In a statement, ULC President and CEO Susan Benton stated that the Innovations Initiative’s 2020 winners were chosen based on the “inventiveness of the program or service, outcomes achieved and potential for other libraries to adopt and adapt the innovation.”
Out of 260 total entries, spanning throughout 93 urban library systems in North America, recognition went to three of our NNLM MCR member libraries.
Kansas City Public Library received the Top Innovator award within the ULC’s Race and Social Justice category for their “Community Street Sheet” project. The project provided accessible information, updated weekly, on critical resources for community members throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic such as shelters, meal services, COVID-19 testing and disseminated the information via more than 200 community agencies.
St. Louis County Library received the Top Innovator award in the ULC’s Wellness, Safety and Sustainability category for their “Drive-Thru Services” project. The project has provided free parking lot Wi-Fi and over two million products, including food and other urgent supplies in the community such as diapers, hygiene products, eyeglasses, STEM crafts and activity kits, books, masks and other PPE to patrons over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salt Lake County received honorable mention within the ULC’s category of Communicating the Library’s Value for their “Building a Data Warehouse and Protecting Privacy” project. The project stores data with personal information removed and allows for the library to make informed, secure, data-driven decisions across different platforms.
Congratulations to Salt Lake County Library, Kansas City Public Library, and St. Louis County Library and thank you for your work to innovate our field!
You can learn more about the ULC at https://www.urbanlibraries.org/. To learn more about this year’s innovations, including tips for implementation, visit https://www.urbanlibraries.org/innovations to watch the awards and read the 2020 brochure at https://www.urbanlibraries.org/assets/Innovations-Winners-2020_Final.pdf