DeKalb County Public Library named Georgia Library of the YearThe DeKalb County Public Library. Photo obtained via http://dekalblibrary.org/
The DeKalb County Public Library has earned the title of Georgia’s Public Library of the Year, according to a press release from the county.
Recognized by the Georgia Public Library Service, DeKalb was recognized for offering public programming that embraces the county’s “diverse community,” according to the release. The award is one of five annual Georgia Public Library Awards, honoring the outstanding service and achievements of Georgia’s public libraries, librarians and advocates during the past year.
“DeKalb County is extremely proud of our public library system and the critical role it plays in promoting lifelong learning,” DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said. “The county provides exceptional services, programs and resources to our residents.”
In 2018, DeKalb expanded library funding by $2.2 million following a push from Thurmond and approval by the county Board of Commissioners. County leadership also raised the minimum wage to $14 an hour, affecting 90 library employees.
One of the largest counties in the state, DeKalb is home to a wide network of libraries, which have been unified through a number of initiatives, according to Alison Weissinger, the public library director.
“DeKalb County Public Library is a system of individual library locations serving diverse interests and needs,” Weissinger said. “We created the Read More Campaign to coalesce all 22 library locations under a common goal of promotion, outreach and unity.”
The Read More campaign included promotional items such as staff t-shirts, car magnets and signage, as well as integrated outreach efforts. The library also started a number of other initiatives, including:
– PRIME TIME Preschool: Introduced children ages 3-4 to literature through storytelling techniques and playtime led by trained facilitators.
– Fine Free Summer: Exempted all overdue juvenile materials from overdue fees from June to September 2018. The program encouraged parents and children to check out books to prevent summer learning loss.
– Human Library Project: Involved human “books” sharing life experiences with participants in one-on-one conversations.
The DeKalb County Public Library also hosts the Georgia Center for the Book, one of the library’s most visible and popular programs. According to the county, the program aims “to preserve Georgia’s rich literary heritage by providing free author talks and sponsoring other literary engagement events such as the annual list of 10 Books All Georgians Should Read and the Book as Art exhibits.”