The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced that the Gail Borden Public Library District of Elgin, Ill. is the 2006 winner of the Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award for its project "GIANTS: African Dinosaurs, created by Project Exploration" exhibit.
The annual award sponsored by the Marshall Cavendish Corporation consists of $2,000 and a citation which will be presented Tuesday, June 27, 2006 during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The honor recognizes either a school or public library that demonstrates excellence in library programming by providing programs that have community impact and respond to community needs. Only one award is presented annually.
The Gail Borden Public Library District attracted visitors who had never crossed the library's threshold by showcasing six life-size skeleton dinosaurs that lived 135 million years ago with displays of original fossil material and interactive exhibits. Project Exploration, a not-for-profit organization co-founded by University of Chicago paleontologist Dr. Paul Sereno and Gabrielle Lyon, educator, and the library district made science accessible to the public by reaching out to diverse populations; inspiring children to learn and achieve through innovative hands-on science experiences; and connecting with students, teachers, and families.
"The project galvanized the community through more than 50 partnerships, 200 volunteers, 65 programs, and 14,000 visiting school children," said Jury Chair Li Chen of Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Ga. "It captured a positive synergy that has revitalized the role of the library as a leader in the community.
"The 'Giants: African Dinosaurs Exhibit' proposal was the most comprehensive, creative and visual of all the proposals," Chen added.
"We are overwhelmed," said library director Carole Medal. "This community and the library accomplished something very special . We are honored to receive this national award which underscores the impact of programming in a community. We are so fortunate to have a creative and visionary community and staff. We thank the American Library Association for recognizing these efforts."
Other members of the 2006 Marshall Cavendish Jury are: Lesley A. Bell, Toronto Public Library, Canada; Geraldine Guillory Harris, New Orleans (La.) Public Library; Tobi Oberman, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library; and Barbara H. Will, California State Library, Sacramento, Calif.
The most recent recipients of this award are San Diego Public Library of California in 2005, Hennepin County Library of Minnesota in 2004, Haines Borough Public Library of Alaska in 2003 and Houston Public Library of Texas in 2002.