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Library wins provincial award for innovation

London Public Library has been awarded the 2007 Minister’s Award for Innovation from the Ontario Ministry of Culture. LPL was among nine other Ontario Libraries nominated for two awards. The honour, which has been awarded for more than 20 years, identifies, promotes and celebrates innovation in public library service.

LPL won for its highly successful LOLLYPOP program (Learning, Literacy and Leadership for our Youth Population), which was designed to increase youth engagement in the Library and increase teen literacy and leadership skills through creative expression and community building activities.

Since introducing Teen Annex spaces at all of its 16 locations last year, LPL has engaged London youth in innovative programs and workshops such as creative writing classes, art mural projects and bookclubs. One of its most popular programs is L.O.U.D. (London Ontario Underground Dimensions), free indie band nights featuring local teen talent that routinely attract more than one hundred attendees.

The first Teen Annex at the Central Library, which opened with a crowd of hundreds in January 2007, was designed entirely by a teen committee - they picked the colours, the furniture, the activities, even the name! “This,” said Library CEO Anne Becker, “was the key to the program’s success -- engaging teens on their terms.” “We recognize the critical role that the Library has in developing these future leaders, but the most important lesson we learned during the process was from the teens themselves - what they wanted from their Library and how they wanted it,” said Becker. “We are honoured to be recognized for this work, and I extend my congratulations to our outstanding children and youth services team who facilitated this tremendous success.”

The award was presented to LPL’s Coordinator of Children’s and Youth Services, Julie Brandl, at the 2008 Public Library Awards gala at the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference on January 31, 2008.