JEFFERSONVILLE – A new awards program honoring libraries for their exceptional community impacts is celebrating 17 winners in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wyoming).
Unique Management Services, the world’s leading library material recovery and patron communication services company, created three awards to celebrate high-impact libraries for providing vital services, protecting public assets and keeping patrons in good standing, according to a news release from UMS.
Together, these 17 regional winners from across the U.S. recovered a combined $2.2 million in overdue materials and brought more than 20,000 patrons back into good standing, all while providing outstanding service to their patrons and communities.
Unique honored 72 total libraries in this year’s awards across four geographic regions in three award areas including these midwestern regional winners
The “Defender of the Collection Award” honors libraries that have returned a high percentage of patrons to good standing (or brought them “back in the fold”) to be able to continue utilizing library services supporting equity and accessibility in their communities. Among the small library winners is Warsaw Community Public Library, who recovered $95,606 in overdue materials.
Winners were chosen by Unique’s team who partner with more than 1,350 libraries across the country to effectively recover materials while preserving patron goodwill. Libraries were categorized by size, region and volume to determine the top-performing partners who made the biggest impacts on their communities.
“All libraries deserve recognition for their unprecedented response this past year to provide vital services to their patrons and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Unique President and CEO Nicole Atkins. “Unique developed this award program as a small way to say thank you, celebrating libraries and librarians for their constant dedication and meaningful impacts.”
Libraries face a difficult road ahead – already underfunded and looking at further drops due to pandemic-related budget cuts and reliance on city and county use taxes impacted by COVID-19, the news release states. Recovering lost or unreturned books is more important now than ever to maintain budgets, limit the cost of material replacement and protect taxpayer dollars. As libraries evolve to maintain their collections as philosophies shift about fines, keeping patrons in good standing and securing the timely return of materials is essential to ensure access and equity.
Winners were presented with their awards earlier this month and encouraged to share the news of this distinct honor with their patrons, staff and communities. This is the inaugural presentation of these awards, which Unique intends to continue annually to honor its partners who are making a difference in communities across the U.S.
A full list of winners is available at uniquelibrary.com/awards.