Friday, January 9, 2009

Russell Library Award for Excellence Citation

On December 15 we published news that the Russell Library had been chosen as the winner of the 2009 Connecticut Award for Excellence in Public Library Service.

Here is the actual citation:

Excellence in Public Library Service Award Winners Announced

The Connecticut Library Association and the Connecticut State Library are pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Excellence in Public Library Service Awards. The Association of Connecticut Library Boards and the Friends of Connecticut Libraries are partners with CLA and the State Library in presenting these awards.

Nominations from across the state were judged on:

• Service to their community
• Creativity and innovation in developing programs
• Leadership in creating programs that can be emulated by other libraries, and
• Services which will affect the future of the library and their community

A panel of 3 judges from outside Connecticut reviewed these remarkable nominations. While the judges were impressed with all of the nominees, when they took into account these factors they chose the following winners:

In the population category of over 15,000 the winner is the Russell Library of Middletown. The Russell Library offers in incredible depth and breadth of programs and services to the over 47,000 residents of Middletown and the surrounding area. Their mission statement articulates that the library is “A Gateway to the Future of Middletown” and all of their programs and services support that mission. Their nomination focused on 3 particular programs that illustrate how they “help children explore the world around and within them…and ensure that adults have access to the fullness of human experience.” These programs are Green Children, Career Services and Older Adult Programs.

Green Children, a program for children ages five and up meets twice a month from September to June. It focuses on the ecology of Middletown and the surrounding area and teaches children what they can do to protect the land, air and water as well as the plants and animals that live in these environments. The local emphasis arises from the desire to impress on children that ecology is literally a back yard issue and not always some faraway concern, like saving the rain forests.

The goal of the Russell Library’s Job and Career Programs is to help individuals in Middletown and Middlesex County, including the long term unemployed to find jobs or to change their careers. To support this goal they offer a wide variety of programming including 10 to 12 workshops annually conducted by experts on the topics of resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, networking, stress management and job search strategies. They sponsor a weekly job group to give people the opportunity to network as well as offer confidential job counseling twice weekly. Job seekers can practice their interviewing techniques with the help of volunteer professionals from the business community. The program has been very successful and with the worsening economy will be even more vital to the community in the future.

Services to Older Adults at the Russell Library are planned by an interdisciplinary team of library staff. Programs are offered in the library (Lunch and Learn, film discussions) as well as out in the community. Book discussion groups are held at 2 senior apartment complexes and collections of library materials are housed in 10 senior care facilities. Staff and volunteers also offer homebound book delivery. The Older Adult Specialist coordinates education programs on a wide variety of topics (from Jackson Pollock to wedding customs around the world) as the 10 senior care facilities. The Programs for Older Adults at the Russell Library provide not only program and service choices but what every human deserves, a voice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, there was a South Farms branch of Russell library, right about where the CVS is today. I had my own library card! I fulfilled ambitions of reading an entire shelf of biographies for children , all bound in blue and learned many hard lessons about accumulating fines for overdue books. I love the library!