LA County Library Named 2019 Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year

System Recognized for Extraordinary Efforts on Equity, Innovative Services

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. & NEW YORK, NY – May 28, 2019 – LA County Library is the 2019 Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year. Under the leadership of Skye Patrick, who is also the Library Journal 2019 Librarian of the Year, LA County Library, serving the 3.4 million residents of Los Angeles County, has reinvented its organizational culture to run on deep listening to community members’ needs and desires, a baked-in focus on equity and inclusion, developing original services that take a broad view of the library mission and active partnerships, both public and private.

As the 2019 Library of the Year, LA County Library will receive a cash prize of $10,000, be featured on the cover of Library Journal’s (LJ’s) June 2019 issue, available in print and online, and will be honored at a reception at the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference 2019 in Washington, DC.

Established in 1992, each year the Library of the Year Award celebrates the library that most profoundly demonstrates service to the community, creativity and innovating in developing specific community programs or has seen dramatic increase in library use and leadership in creating programs emulated by other libraries. To learn more, visit: www.libraryjournal.com/LOY2019.

LA County Library’s numerous innovations – many of them in partnership – include:

  • Adapting the Positive Parenting Programs to a library setting.
  • The Turns the Tables free nine-week DJ workshop to teach technological and entrepreneurial skills.
  • A partnership with Barbershop Books.
  • Programming to develop protective factors to reduce the development of mental illness plus mental health clinicians in eight libraries.
  • Four new Veterans Resource Centers.
  • New programs for youth on probation.
  • Hiring ten young men of color as My Brother’s Keeper Peer Advocates.
  • Developing the website Path2Citizenship.lacounty.gov and circulating Citizenship in a Bag kits.
  • Building Digital Equity, which teaches youth Microsoft programs and certifies their acquisition of up-to-date digital skills.

“I am thrilled that we have been named 2019 Library of the Year by Library Journal – thrilled because this award is a representation of our organization as a whole, and it puts our new vision and our staff’s dedication front and center. I simply could not be more proud of the amazing work and effort put forth by this incredible staff, and am honored to lead such a great Library,” said Skye Patrick, LA County Library Director.

“It is truly remarkable to be recognized by Library Journal with three career-defining awards in one year. We strive to be responsive to our customers, and this award recognizes the impactful, system-wide work of our staff, making it that much more meaningful!” said Patrick.

Established in 1912, LA County Library is one of the largest public library systems in the United States, and the world. The system has 87 libraries; three book kiosks at housing sites for older adults and youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are in transition from state custody or foster care; and a fleet of 18 vehicles comprised for outreach. Library users borrowed 10,767,071 items from collections in fiscal 2017-18 and 10,300,859 visited a library to get those materials and many other services, among them answers to 6.7 million reference questions. LA County Library’s digital resources delivered more than 2 million e-circulations (increasing 29-33 percent a year), 4.4 million Wi-Fi sessions, and 2.2 million Internet sessions last year. LA County Library’s 26,400 programs attracted more than 619,000 participants in total. An amazing 499,512 came to children’s programs, up four percent from last year. Some 86,534 attended adult programs, up a huge 24 percent over the prior year, and 32,996 attending teen programs, an increase of eight percent.

“This is a very exciting time for libraries, and LA County Library exemplifies the creativity and care brought to our communities every day by these vital institutions,” said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal and School Library Journal. “We’ve been watching LA County Library under the leadership of Skye Patrick, who was recently named LJ’s Librarian of the Year. Now this honor signals how effectively the organization has adapted and evolved to set a standard of service worth emulating.”

Also featured in the June 2019 issue of Library Journal are two other libraries honored with special mentions in the 2019 Library of the Year Award program. They are:

  • Calgary Public Library, under the leadership of CEO Bill Ptacek
  • Chicago Public Library, honored for the third consecutive year, under the leadership of Commissioner and CEO Brian Bannon

A team of LJ editors winnowed the competitive nomination pool to a group of semi-finalists, and each of those was evaluated by a panel of qualified industry professionals.

For award guidelines, visit www.libraryjournal.com/?page=All-Awards-Guidelines.

About Library Journal

Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 75,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJ. Library Journal reviews over 8,000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and websites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. For more information, visit www.libraryjournal.com. Library Journal is a publication of MSI Information Services, which also owns School Library Journal, The Horn Book, Junior Library Guild, and AKJ Education, Inc.

About Gale

Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when, and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit: www.gale.com.

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