Awards and professional development

OCLC Community Engagement Award

Public library reading program

Congratulations to our winners!

From February through May of 2020, more than 120 libraries shared descriptions of their community engagement projects with us. A panel of elected OCLC member leaders assessed entrants on the criteria of impact, innovation, and engagement. Based on their scoring, the winners were announced in July!

Orlando Children’s Business Fair
Orange County Library System, Florida, USA

Project BRIDGE
Jackson District Library, Jackson, Michigan, USA

Welcome Baby
Edmonton Public Library Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Each library received $5,000 to help continue their efforts. On Tuesday 18 August 2020, the three winners of the OCLC Community Engagement Award shared details of their programs with a live, virtual audience. The event was hosted by Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO and Helene Blowers, Executive Director, Member Relations.

Community engagement: Award-winning programs and perspectives

Our thanks go out to all of the libraries that submitted entries. They all deserve attention and recognition. It was wonderful and inspiring to read about everything they are doing to connect with their communities. We hope to share some of their stories in other ways in the future.

Please note, the 2020 award was a one-time program and is not being repeated at this time.

Icon of hands holding community

Questions? Contact us

The winning programs

Orlando Children’s Business Fair

Orange County Library System
Orlando, Florida, USA

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 that introduces young people to classes and events with a focus on promoting entrepreneurship and skills such as planning, marketing, financing, and more. Kids and teens create a product or service, develop a brand, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at this one-day marketplace. Unlike other youth business fairs, this event was coupled with business classes and camps offered by the Library. These classes are enhanced by existing courses in fiber arts (sewing, finger knitting), Fab Lab (laser cutting, circuitry, woodworking, 3D printing), culinary arts, and arts & crafts, which are part of the growing maker/DIY movement. After completing the program’s third year, the Orange County Library System has showcased a total of 121 businesses owned by kids, representing ages 6–14 across the county with a total attendance of more than 1,900 people. Attendees purchased products from young vendors who sold artwork, soap, Lego cars, baked goods, photographic services, handicrafts, and more. In the words of one young entrepreneur: “My experience has been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s an experience you can only get here at the library.”


Project BRIDGE

Jackson District Library
Jackson, Michigan, USA

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. Project BRIDGE employs a multipronged approach to serve these patrons, their families, and caregivers by offering multiple services and program offerings.

  1. Connections, a special collection of materials for memory-impaired individuals that caregivers can share.
  2. JDL on the Road, a series of library programs and performances tailored to the interests of older adults and conducted off-site in care facilities and senior centers.
  3. Music and Memory, iPods with personalized music selections.
  4. Journeys Kits, multisensory program kits designed to stimulate conversations and memories in a group setting.
  5. TimeSlips, an interactive program that uses group storytelling to create and share stories. JDL has enhanced Project BRIDGE’s success by partnering with agencies and organizations that provide services to this target population, increasing services not only to all older adults, but also to their family members, caregivers, and residential facilities.

Through Project BRIDGE, JDL has moved away from providing a one-way service delivery model and has embraced a collaborative service model that involves multiple partners and stakeholders. Having seen the success of Project BRIDGE, our partners are committed to exploring additional ways to engage Jackson County’s senior population.


Welcome Baby

Edmonton Public Library
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The first of its kind in Alberta, Edmonton Public Library’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 in Public Health Centres or in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) if their baby is admitted after birth. Families also receive a second book and rhyme booklet (electronic version available in six languages) when they sign up their child for a free library card. At its core, Welcome Baby is about taking everything the Library offers to help children develop strong early literacy skills and leveraging local health partners to connect with all families, regardless of background or barriers, or previous familiarity with library services and resources. In 2019, more than 73% of babies born in the City of Edmonton received a Welcome Baby package, enabling EPL to reach countless families who might not otherwise visit a branch or be aware of available library resources. And the impact of Welcome Baby goes far beyond the initial gift. Many parents continue their relationship with the Library by signing up their child for a library card and participating in early literacy programs. By 2019, memberships with those under age three saw a 108% increase and attendance in early literacy classes also increased 83%.