Edmonton Public Library Wins Awards for Library Services

by NationTalk on April 29, 20081999 Views

April 29, 2008

The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) has won two Library Association of Alberta (LAA) awards—the 2008 Award of Excellence in Library Service and the 2008 Freedom to Read Week Award.2008 Award of Excellence — Aboriginal Services at EPL
The Award of Excellence recognizes EPL for its leadership in providing library services to Aboriginal peoples.

“Literacy is key to dealing with the many social marginalizations some Aboriginal people face, and the library is a beacon of hope,” says Lise Robinson, a Métis social worker and co-chair of Voices of the Urban Indigenous People.

In 2003, EPL established an Aboriginal Services Task Force to identify the barriers preventing Aboriginal people from using public libraries. In 2005 the Task Force published its findings, along with 14 recommendations which EPL immediately began implementing:

• Outdated materials were replaced and new Aboriginal books, films, magazines, newspapers and music were added.
• An Aboriginal Peoples webpage was created to link customers to databases and Aboriginal materials. The webpage included resources to help other library systems develop their Aboriginal collections, a service which has had an impact far beyond the Edmonton area.
• EPL staff received Aboriginal cultural awareness training and branches began offering Aboriginal programs, teaching traditional crafts and celebrating Aboriginal culture in the Library.
• In 2007, EPL became the first library in Alberta to hire an Aboriginal Services Librarian to work closely with schools and the community.

“We are very honoured to be recognized by our peers for our leadership in this important area. Our Board of Trustees’ and City Council’s support reflect a deep commitment to making libraries accessible and relevant to a largely underserved community,” says Linda Cook, EPL’s Chief Executive Officer.

2008 Freedom to Read Week Award

EPL’s second LAA award recognizes the Library’s activities during Freedom to Read Week 2008 (February 24 – March 1). EPL held a Banned Book Café with readings from challenged books, displayed challenged juvenile, teen and adult books and launched a Freedom to Read webpage, with censorship games, prizes, book lists and web links.

“The committee was very impressed by the range of activities at the Edmonton Public Library,” says Anne Carr-Wiggin, a member of the Library Association of Alberta Intellectual Freedom

“The committee particularly noted that the activities focused on young people, and that the Library did a wonderful job of involving teens, library school students and the community.”


2008 Award of Excellence — Aboriginal Services at EPL
Jody Crilly
Manager, Penny McKee Branch – Abbottsfield
Edmonton Public Library

2008 Freedom to Read Week Award
Tamsin Shute
Teen Services Librarian
Centre for Reading and the Arts, Stanley A. Milner Library
Edmonton Public Library

To view the Aboriginal Services webpage go to:

To view the Freedom to Read Week webpage go to:

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