Calcasieu Parish Public Library Wins National Award

The following is a news release from the Calcasieu Parish Public Library.

The Calcasieu Parish Public Library has been awarded the Highsmith Library Innovation Award for 2010. The Summer Reading Program Yard Sign project brought the national attention to Calcasieu Parish. The Highsmith Award recognizes a public library's innovative and creative service program to the community. Any innovative, cutting-edge program, activity or service is considered for nomination.

The yard signs, originally used at Louisville Free Public Library, proved to be a dynamic solution to the problem of getting students to read during the summer vacation from school. Michael Sawyer, CPPL Director, saw the Louisville project and adapted it for use in Calcasieu Libraries. The signs reached a special population through the unique approach to rewarding summer readers, and brought measurable results in circulation of library materials, and visits to public libraries.

In the 14 year history of the Highsmith Award, Calcasieu is only the second library in the South to win it. Sawyer has won 4 national awards for 4 different library systems. The judges who reviewed the Calcasieu entry liked that it was a simple but effective way to get children to read, and it increased the library visibility in the community and on the web. They commented that the project encourages a new generation of library advocates and community involvement. Libraries in other parts of the country can easily adapt the project to their own communities making sustainability possible.