For Immediate Release: June 5, 2018
Media contact: Mindy Linetzky
(415) 557-4252; Mindy.Linetzky@sfpl.org
San Francisco Public Library Wins Library of the Year Award
SFPL honored with the most prestigious library award in the country
San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Public Library is excited to announce that it has been chosen as the 2018 Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year. Established in 1992, each year the Library of the Year Award celebrates the library that most profoundly demonstrates service to the community, creativity and innovation in developing specific community programs or have seen dramatic increase in library use and leadership in creating programs emulated by other libraries. To learn more, visit: https://lj.libraryjournal.com/2018/06/awards/2018-galelj-library-year-san-francisco-public-library/#_.
Under the leadership of recently retired City Librarian Luis Herrera and now his successor, Michael Lambert, SFPL is a library system that actively promotes San Francisco’s values of inclusion, diversity and equality and creates programs and policies to support those democratic values. “The San Francisco Public Library plays a crucial role in supporting our City’s values and policies,” said Mayor Mark Farrell. “Their open doors, compassionate staff, community connections and creative programs help make San Francisco great. I applaud them for this well-deserved national recognition.”
In his support of SFPL’s nomination for 2018 Library of the Year, author Dave Eggers said, “This library has real energy. It has real passion. They move quickly on initiatives and they say ‘yes.’ Contrary to some large institutions, that can be burdened by their own size and history, and which have the alacrity of a cruise ship, the SFPL is nimble, creative, and always inclined to find a way to make things happen.”
The SFPL story builds on the transformational leadership of Herrera, the 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year, who retired this past February after 13 years. “I feel as though I’ve had an Ivy League education working with Luis Herrera,” Lambert said. “Luis was a transformational leader. He created an amazing culture of service and innovation here, but it is also a family culture for the staff. We care about one another, and we celebrate each other.”
“We have an incredible talent pool at SFPL,” Lambert continued. “Four years ago, we set out to be the premier urban library in the country, and our staff have bought in. We launched an initiative called Service Excellence, and every staff member, custodian, page, security staff, our librarians, our managers, everybody goes through service excellence training. People have committed themselves to the patron focus service model, and they have committed to creating a safe and welcoming library, a preferred destination for all San Franciscans.”
“Our library embodies the spirit of San Francisco – inclusive, diverse, caring and full of exuberance,” said Library Commission President Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi. “I’m so proud of our staff for winning this coveted award.”
More than 6.6 million customers used SFPL’s library facilities in 2017, including the Main Library in the Civic Center, 27 neighborhood branches and four mobile outreach vehicles. The library system enjoys extraordinary political and fiscal support thanks to a voter led initiative that mandates an annual funding set aside from the City’s property tax revenues, resulting in an annual budget of $126 million or $144 per capita. Every SFPL library is open seven days a week and all 27 neighborhood branches are open a minimum of 50 hours each week with some open 55 and the Main Library open 60 hours.
“The people of San Francisco are very lucky to have this excellent library at their fingertips, and the library profession is lucky to have it as a model and inspiration,” said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal. “San Francisco Public Library is truly a national leader in developing models of inclusion, demonstrating bold approaches to serving the diverse and underserved segments of it community, and redefining how urban libraries can and should be responsive to the national dialog on democracy.”
As the 2018 Library of the Year, SFPL will receive a cash prize of $10,000, is featured on the cover of Library Journal’s June 15, 2018 issue and will be honored at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual June conference in New Orleans. A team of Library Journal editors winnowed the competitive nomination pool to a group of semi-finalists. Each of those was evaluated by a panel of qualified industry professionals. For award guidelines and past winners, visit https://lj.libraryjournal.com/awards-info/.
San Francisco Public Library by the Numbers
1 – National Library of the Year 2018
2 – Warriors’ blue and gold library cards
4 – Bookmobiles
5 – Library Commissioners
7 – Open days of the week
28 – San Francisco library locations
89 – Story times offered every week
872 – Staff to serve the public
900 – Summer Stride programs
1,500 – Library programs every month
1879 – First San Francisco Public Library opens
15,513 – Student Scholar Cards
444,491 – Library card holders
3.7 million – Items in the library’s collection
6.6 million – Annual visitors
10.8 million – Annual circulation of materials
About Library Journal
Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 75,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJ. Library Journal reviews over 8,000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and websites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Junior Library Guild. For more information, visit www.libraryjournal.com.
Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit: www.gale.com.
About San Francisco Public Library
San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center and four bookmobiles. For more information, see www.sfpl.org.
About Friends of San Francisco Public Library
Friends of San Francisco Public Library are a member-supported, nonprofit organization that advocates, fundraises and provides critical support for the San Francisco Public Library. For more information, see www.friendssfpl.org.
High resolution photos available on request.