California Library Awards

ALA gives San Diego County Library 2008 Information Today Library of the Future Award for Gateway/ Al-Bawaba Project

The San Diego County Library (SDCL) is the 2008 winner of the ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award. The SDCL won the award for its Gateway/Al-Bawaba Project, an exemplary community outreach program that provides Internet and computer instruction to the immigrant Middle Eastern population of San Diego County. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the library demonstrated “innovative planning” in this customer training program about information technology in a library setting.

The culturally-specific SDCL’s Gateway/Al-Bawaba Project encourages adult learning and technological literacy while attracting an underserved segment of the San Diego community. Through the winning initiative, SDCL recruits Arabic-speaking instructors to teach library customers in bilingual classes held at three San Diego County libraries. Instructors use translated class materials to teach Arabic keyboarding and basic computer skills such as Internet researching, and using SDCL’s online services.

SDCL Assistant Director Betty Waznis says SDCL staff who worked on the project are proud their award. “Gateway is truly a team project. Though it, everyone learns, and everyone benefits,” Waznis says.

Steven M. Adams, chair of the ALA jury which adjudicated the award applications says, “When libraries reach out to underserved populations in the way that SDCL has, we ensure a bright future for our communities and our library organizations.”

The Library of the Future Awards were presented on Tuesday, July 1, at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. The deadline for submission of applications for the 2009 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award is Dec. 1. Guidelines and application forms are available on the ALA Web site at

For more information about SDCL’s Gateway/Al-Bawaba Project please visit:

San Diego County Library receives national award for volunteer program

At an April 10 ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the National Association of Counties (NACo) presented the San Diego County Library (SDCL) with an Acts of Caring Award for the library’s L.E.A.R.N./Laubach ESL Program. The annual NACo awards recognize the top county volunteer programs in the country.

L.E.A.R.N./Laubach ESL program history

Deducing that one of the factors leading to unemployment, decreased tax revenues and increased social services was the lack of English-language reading skills among adults in their communities, San Diego County officials chose to accelerate the county’s English as a Second Language programs for the area’s growing adult immigrant population. The officials’ concern led representatives of Libraries Empower All to Read Now (L.E.A.R.N.) and the Laubach Literacy Council to establish the collaborative L.E.A.R.N./Laubach ESL Program which joins volunteer tutors with adult immigrants whose first language is not English.

In 2007, 25 newly trained tutors paired with 76 students and met an average of 3.5 hours a week at 6 participating library branches for a value of $164,696 in volunteer time. The award-winning program demonstrated that immigrants who are proficient in English can better communicate ideas, find meaningful employment, contribute to the community, and become more effective parents and lifelong learners.

Freddie Mac and NACo

Freddie Mac sponsors the Acts of Caring Awards which were presented this year during a breakfast ceremony in the Rayburn House Office Building as part of National County Government Week. A distinguished, independent panel of judges selected the winners.

“As the voice of America’s counties, NACo is pleased to honor this year’s Acts of Caring Award winners for their outstanding volunteer programs,” said NACo President Eric Coleman. “While counties are increasingly challenged each day to provide essential services to residents, the counties being honored today have gone above and beyond and deserve our high praise and appreciation.

For more information about the L.E.A.R.N./Laubach ESL Program in San Diego, please contact Nancy Saint John at (858) 694-3833 or email at

For more information about the NACo Act of Caring Awards, please contact Nancy Saint John at (858) 694-3833 or email at

From California to Finland: Fulbright scholar Deborah Turner

A 1989 partnership between the California State Library and the UCLA Department of Library and Information Science resulted in a series of week-long seminars called Transition into Management Seminar (TIM). Held in 1989, 1992, 1995, and 2000, the TIM identified ten promising entry-level librarians of all ethnic backgrounds and encouraged them to move into leadership positions. The seminars gave new librarians intensive professional development training, and helped them overcome barriers to advancement.

Since the seminars, graduates have assumed leadership roles, from library director positions, to holding offices in library associations, to being named “Movers and Shakers.” One 1995 TIM graduate, Deborah Turner, a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington Information School, was awarded a Fulbright award for the 2008-09 academic year. The Fulbright, one of the most prestigious academic awards bestowed by the Department of State, will allow Turner to live for ten months in Tampere, Finland while conducting research based upon her dissertation, “Conceptualizing Oral Documents.”

Turner says of her research, “With the advent of technologies such as podcasts, asynchronous video conferencing, and immersive worlds, acquiring information increasingly resembles having a conversation. I’m beginning to study how information made available in these new ways differs from information made available through talking face to face.”

Turner chose to research in Finland “because of the peoples’ different communication style…Finnish people are more deliberate about when they speak and when they remain silent.”

Reflecting on the 1995 TIM Seminar she enjoyed in sunny Sacramento, Turner says “the seminar helped me identify the best way to contribute to the profession, and opened up my eyes to larger questions about leadership.” Turner saw then she could best contribute to the profession by teaching library management and researching, but she never imagined her research would someday take her to Finland.

Turner’s advice for other librarians is “actively notice what energizes you during your day and explore how pursuing that can lead you to new opportunities.”

For more information about the Fulbright awards, please visit:

CSL Library Programs Consultant Barbara Will receives posthumous ASCLA Cathleen Bourdon Service Award

Barbara H. Will, library programs consultant at the California State Library from 1987 to 2006, is the recipient of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) Cathleen Bourdon Service Award. Will was honored at the ASCLA Awards ceremony at the American Libraries Association (ALA) conference in Anaheim on June 29.

According to ASCLA’s Interface newsletter which profiles Will in the summer 2008 issue, the ASCLA Cathleen Bourdon Service Award “recognizes sustained leadership and exceptional service through participation in activities that have enhanced the stature, reputation, and overall strength of ASCLA and represented ASCLA to other appropriate organizations, institutions, or governmental agencies.”

An expert on Library and Services Technology Act (LSTA) funding for libraries and a leader within the ASCLA organization for over twenty years, Will developed many winning programs for California libraries including programs which served the state’s people with disabilities and its small businesses.

Library of California Board member given Jefferson Award for Public Service

Judy Zollman, former Families for Literacy program coordinator at the Oakland Public Library, member of the Library of California Board, and founder of the People of the Book Literacy Project with Temple Sinai in Oakland, has received a local Jefferson Award for Public Service. A local panel of judges selected Zollman for her volunteer work building and maintaining libraries in four low-income Oakland area schools; for setting-up tutoring programs in 3 schools, as well as an after-school teen/elementary school program, providing children, teachers and schools with over 80,000 books, as well as providing art, music, storytelling programs, author visits, weekly food distributions and adopt-a-family programs to needy families.

Local winners of the Jefferson Awards, a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America, are people, like Zollman, who perform extraordinary deeds – mostly without recognition. 

The Jefferson Awards has 150 media partners, including major local newspapers, television and radio stations, in 90 communities across the country. Local Bay Area station, CBS News, Channel 5, interviewed Zollman on May 19th and filmed kids, tutors, library staff volunteers, and the principal at the library of one of her partner schools, the Santa Fe school in Oakland. The San Francisco Chronicle profiled Zollman on Sunday, June 15. Jean Stein, Temple Sinai's People of the Book's library coordinator, says, “This is a wonderful honor for Judy, and great publicity for both the literacy project and for Santa Fe school.”

For more information about the Jefferson Awards, please visit:

Three Bond Act-funded libraries win architectural awards

Three Library Bond Act of 2000-funded libraries have won prestigious awards for architectural achievement:

  • Pickleweed Community Center and Library, a branch of the San Rafael Public Library designed by Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning Inc., has won the Grand Prize in the Community Services and Economic Development category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for excellence, an award administered by the League of Cities. In addition, Pickleweed Community Center and Library has also received a Citation Award from the AIA San Mateo Chapter.
  • San Mateo Public Library designed by Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis received a Merit Award from the AIA San Mateo Chapter.
  • Manor Community Branch, a branch of the San Leandro Public Library also designed by Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning Inc., received an Honor Award from the AIA San Mateo Chapter

For more information about these library projects, please visit the Bond Act page on the California State Library website.

California State Library Regional Depository Librarian Cismowski named as Depository Library Council member

The California State Library’s Regional Depository Librarian David Cismowski is one of five nationwide members newly appointed to the Depository Library Council.

The 15 member Council advises the Public Printer on policy matters relating to the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The FDLP is an historic organization which partners with more than 1,250 libraries ranging from public libraries to research universities to give Americans access to the published information of all three branches of their government.

“I am pleased to welcome this talented incoming class of Council members,” Public Printer Robert C. Tapella says.  “I look forward to their advice as GPO continues to work with the library community to provide free, open and permanent public access to the documents of our democracy.”

As Regional Depository Librarian at California State Library, Cismowski has worked to improve communication and networking among California’s depository community.  He has helped to re-institute California depository conferences, kept the California depository community connected via the state’s depository online news list and started an orientation program for new depository coordinators.

The GPO is the Federal Government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published U.S. Government information in all its forms. GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three Branches of the Federal Government. In addition to publication sales, GPO makes government information available at no cost to the public through GPO Access (, and through partnerships with more than 1,250 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program. For more information, please visit

National Endowment for the Arts announces Big Read recipients, 19 California entities, including 9 California libraries, are awardees

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced June 16 that 208 libraries, municipalities, and arts, culture, and science organizations nationwide will receive grants totaling $2,810,500 to host Big Read celebrations between September 2008 and June 2009. Nineteen California entities, including 9 California libraries, are 2008-2009 Big Read recipients.

The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 23 selections from American and world literature.  The recipients will receive Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based programs. 

California’s 2008-2009 Big Read recipients (with reading selections) are:

Bakersfield Museum of Art (Their Eyes Were Watching God); Corona Public Library (To Kill a Mockingbird); PEN Center USA (Bless Me, Ultima); Fresno County Library (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer); Hayward Public Library (A Lesson Before Dying); City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (The Maltese Falcon); Will & Company (Bless Me, Ultima); County of Los Angeles Public Library (To Kill a Mockingbird); California State University East Bay Foundation Inc (A Lesson Before Dying);  Pleasanton Public Library (The Great Gatsby); Cal Poly Pomona Foundation (To Kill a Mockingbird); Rancho Cucamonga Public Library Services (The Maltese Falcon); University of Redlands (Fahrenheit 451); Riverside Arts Council (Bless Me, Ultima); Rural California Broadcasting Corporation/KRCB (To Kill a Mockingbird); Roseville Public Library (Old School); The Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery (The Call of the Wild); Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library (Fahrenheit 451); and the City of Ventura Cultural Affairs Division (Bless Me, Ultima).

Participants will also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title. Reader's Guides include features such as author biographies, historical context for the book, and discussion questions.

"With this latest round of grants, I am proud to say that The Big Read has supported more than 500 public library partnerships," said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the NEA's lead federal partner for The Big Read. "Through this program, public libraries continue to demonstrate their value in communities as centers of engagement, literacy, and lifelong learning. I am particularly delighted by the innovative public programming born out of library and museum collaborations."

For the full NEA press release, please visit:




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