Two Tulare County Library programs have received statewide recognition for providing digital access to teens and more access to books for all residents.
The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) awarded Tulare County’s “Teen Digital Media Lab” with a Challenge Award and the “Your Library in More Places” program also received a Merit Award for its efforts to place book machines in rural, unincorporated communities as part of its annual Challenge Awards program. CSAC staff presented the awards at a recent Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting.
“CSAC is validating something that we already knew here in Tulare County: our library is doing a great job in finding innovative ways to promote their programs and keep the community engaged,” said Pete Vander Poel, chairman of the board of supervisors. “We are extremely honored to receive these accolades and are proud of the library staff.”
The statewide Challenge Awards program honors innovation in county government. This year, CSAC received more than 200 entries from California’s 58 counties. The entries were evaluated by an independent panel of judges closely affiliated with counties and the programs and services they deliver, according to CSAC.
Tulare County was one of two counties with a population between 200,001 and 700,000 to receive a Challenge Award. Three other counties in the same population category received Merit Awards. “These awards demonstrate that the library is on the cutting edge in finding new ways to reach every citizen in Tulare County,” said Jeff Scott, county librarian. “Whether they are teens, residents of rural communities or other special groups, we look for programs and events that will interest and inspire them.”
Tulare County’s Teen Digital Media Lab provides teens access to computers, equipment and software they may not have at home that allows them to express themselves. Whether they have an interest in making movies, writing a novel or screenplay, taking pictures or drawing and painting, teens are provided the tools to help.
During the program’s first six months, participation grew from 7 to 69 teens. The Tulare County Library has made a concerted effort to place book machines in rural, unincorporated areas through its Your Library in More Places program.
Book machines provide a low-cost high-impact solution for patrons unable to get to a library. So far, four book machines have been installed throughout the county, and the library plans to install more.