Calling Wichita’s library system “a national role model,” representatives from the Library Journal and LibraryAware on Tuesday presented the annual LibraryAware Community Award to the Wichita Public Library.
The award includes $10,000 that Cynthia Berner Harris, director of libraries, said would be used to supplement a variety of existing programs.
“This library has been a national role model for libraries” in how it combines great collaboration and commitment to the community to produce “great outcomes,” said Nancy Dowd, a representative of LibraryAware, which is part of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services.
“They went up against the biggest libraries in the nation to win the award, which makes it even more impressive,” Dowd said.
The Wichita Public Library’s mission has expanded over the years to include early literacy programs, a monthly current events program and a partnership with SCORE, which assists small-business owners and educates entrepreneurs.
“We don’t think our efforts are extraordinary,” Berner Harris said, which makes the award “particularly rewarding.”
The system was checking out 23 items per minute one day last week, she said, and hundreds of children have signed up for summer reading programs.
Ian Singer, a representative from Library Journal, called the Wichita Public Library’s level of community involvement “truly amazing.”