Award Winner Thrice Over!

We are excited to announce that Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library is the recipient of 3 awards from the Florida Library Association for 2020 Included below is language from our submissions to provide background information on the projects.

The first is the Libraries Mean Business award. “Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library (THPL) promotes economic development through resources, programs, and partnerships that empower small businesses and entrepreneurs. THPL facilitates this support through a strategicpartnership with the Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaborative Center (ECC), which has led to strong relationships with other community organizations. Since 2016, THPL has engaged with 1,135 people through 57 classes and 684 reference hours at the ECC, 1,639 more through outreach at business events, and over 3,500 through expert-led business classes in library branches. 96% of customers surveyed report learning something helpful, 96% intend to apply what they learned, and 93% are more aware of library resources and services.” The library’s partnership with the ECC has been going on for a few years and is maintained by the Learning Experiences team. Currently Eric Hughes and Amanda Jones work closely with the ECC to collaborate on programming.

The second is the Libraries Change Lives award. “Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library (THPL) supports adult learners in Hillsborough County through English language and basic literacy tutoring in partnership with the Hillsborough Literacy Council and citizenship classes facilitated by community partners. Each year over 100 active volunteers offer 3,000 hours of instruction. In 2019 THPL expanded its citizenship classes with the support of a $10,000 American Dream Literacy Initiative grant, incorporating tablets to make the sessions more engaging while building technology skills and familiarizing students with the online testing format. 100% of students said they learned something helpful and intend to apply what they learned. Three additional series are scheduled for 2020.” The Library’s Learning Experiences team worked closely with the Hillsborough Literacy Council to expand its citizenship classes through the American Dream Literacy Initiative. Eric Hughes and Melissa Nye worked to develop the program and apply for the grant.

The third is the Florida Librarian of the Year award. “Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library (THPL) became one of the most accessible libraries in Florida and FLA’s 2019 Library of the Year under the strong leadership and clear vision of its Director, Andrew Breidenbaugh. Andrew’s persistent collaboration with local government and library stakeholders enabled THPL to extend library access to every school-aged child in Hillsborough County, welcome back 15,000 customers previously shut out from the library’s resources by overdue fines, make library technology available to every resident regardless of account status and expand service to underserved populations with innovative new programs.”

We would also like to send a special thank you to Melissa Clark who eloquently writes and coordinates all of our grant and award submissions. THPL is not able to gain recognition without the work, talent, creativity, and passion that each of you put towards helping our customers! Thank you for everything you do.

Have a great weekend,
Chely Cantrell**
Library Brand Innovation Officer

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library