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The Rochester Public Library is awarded the 2017 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award

GFHIOThe New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries is pleased to announce that the 2017 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award has been awarded to the Rochester Public Library for its fines elimination pilot program.

Rochester's fines elimination pilot program demonstrates excellence in library service to the community as well as excellence in project development and execution. The library, in its efforts to address the endemic problem of poverty in its community, identified and documented usage trends and existing financial barriers to using the library. With clear goals to increase access and circulation of library materials among families living in poverty, the RPL gained approval from its Trustees and incorporated anticipated adjustments into the City's annual budget before proceeding with its bold program. The RPL pilot ran from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. During this period, children's and young adult materials owned by the RPL did not accrue daily overdue fines. The pilot, which saw a 10% increase in circulation of materials over the previous year, was well received by the community and was praised by the Mayor of Rochester, who announced that the fines elimination on materials for children and teens would be made permanent. Most importantly, the program had positive benefits on children and families and erased a disincentive to using the library for residents living in poverty.

The selection committee was impressed by the clarity of purpose behind the program and the program's relationship to a sense of urgency among leaders in the community to address poverty. With the rigor of assessment, both leading up to and during the pilot, the library demonstrated a real need and showed that reducing financial barriers made a substantial difference to users.

The award will be officially presented in November at the New York Library Association Conference in Saratoga Springs. As the 2017 Shubert Award winner, the Rochester Public Library will receive $1,000, which is graciously donated by the Friends of the New York State Library, and a plaque.

Members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries 2017 Shubert Award Committee are Ann Thornton, Claudia Depkin and Michael Stoller. The Committee was uniformly enthusiastic in its decision to honor the Rochester Public Library’s submission as an excellent example of the “spirit of the Shubert award.”

The Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award is given annually to recognize the achievements of small, medium and large libraries and library consortia in New York State. Named after the late Joseph F. Shubert, former State Librarian, the Award honors libraries or library consortia that have taken significant steps within the past two years to improve the quality of library service to users.

The New York State Regents Advisory Council is pleased to sponsor the Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award.  The award includes a gift of $1,000 supplied by the Friends of the New York State Library. Other notable projects may also be recognized and honored for their achievements.