Pima County Logo
  • Increase font size
  • Decrease font size
  • Print
  • RSS
  • Pima County Public Library recognized as top innovator

    Jul 17, 2013 | Read More News
    Share this page
    The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) announced Pima County Public Library (PCPL) as one of its ten 2013 Top Innovators during the ULC Annual Forum held in Chicago, Ill., in June.

    Library nurseA panel of expert judges selected PCPL’s library nurse program from more than 140 applications for the fourth annual ULC Innovations Initiative. ULC’s Innovations Initiative highlights members’ programs, services, and operating practices that demonstrate their ability to keep pace with change and expand opportunity for people of all ages. The library nurse program won in the category of Health, Wellness and Safety.

    According to PCPL Executive Director Melinda Cervantes, the library nurse program has an impact on the community in many ways. “We’re bringing health care and information to the public, and making our libraries safer and more welcoming at the same time. It’s great to be a part of such a forward-thinking community, library system, and county government.”

    Accepting the award in Chicago on the behalf of the Library, Deputy Director Karyn Prechtel said that PCPL is honored to be included in the impressive list of public libraries recognized by ULC. “Because of the support of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Administration, and Health Department, we have opportunities to address the community’s needs in unique and exciting ways.”

    Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson, District 3, congratulated the Library and the Health Department for creating a partnership that could become a model program for other communities in North America. “The library nurse program is receiving national and international attention because it inspires communities to try something bold and different. This is a great example of collaboration at its finest.”

    Before the program was implemented, PCPL staff often called 911 for assistance in handling customers’ medical and behavioral issues. In January 2012, the Library began a partnership with the Pima County Health Department to place Public Health Nurses in six libraries.

    Library Services Manager Amber Mathewson, who oversees the program for PCPL, said that library workers have become the eyes and ears for the nurses. “The library nurse program is not only an innovation for libraries, but provides a new model for public health nursing as well,” said Mathewson. “Patrons see their library as a safe place to find information even when it comes to basic human needs.”

    “Being recognized by the ULC demonstrates that this program is doing what we intended,” said Kathleen Malkin, Community Health Services Division Manager for the Pima County Health Department. “Today, all 20 county Public Health Nurses are charged with connecting with the library in their assigned neighborhoods, so our impact will grow even more.”

    In announcing the 2013 Top Innovators, ULC President and CEO Susan Benton said these libraries and every library that submitted programs for the Innovations Awards this year demonstrate the amazing work that takes place in libraries every day.

    “I congratulate Pima County Public Library for being selected as a 2013 Top Innovator. You and your library staff are commended for setting the pace for growth, change and innovation in the field,” Benton said. “Each submission highlights exactly how public libraries create value and impact in local communities.”

    Melinda Cervantes is looking forward to the future of the library nurse program. “Libraries are constantly changing and innovating. It’s the nature of our business.”

    Public health nurse program in the media
    Public health nurses bringing care to libraries, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 4/2/13
    More than just books: Arizona libraries add public health nurses, TODAY.com, 3/28/13
    Library nurses look after those in need, Arizona Daily Star, 10/21/12

    ULC’s 2013 Top Innovators:
    • Learning: Howard County Library System (MD), HiTech: The Road to a STEM Career
    • Civic and Community Engagement: Los Angeles Public Library (CA), Your Path to Citizenship Starts at the Los Angeles Public Library
    • Collections: Nashville Public Library (TN), Limitless Libraries
    • Customer Service: Calgary Public Library (AB), Grow a Reader Early Literacy App
    • Economic and Workforce Development: Saint Paul Public Library (MN), Northstar Digital Literacy Project
    • Health, Wellness and Safety: Pima County Public Library (AZ), Library Nurses Program
    • Operations: New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries (NY), BookOps: Shared Library Technical Services
    • Organizational Change and Strategic Management: San Francisco Public Library (CA), Community Impact through Renewed Engagement
    • Positioning the Library: Free Library of Philadelphia (PA), Flying High: Library of Philadelphia Touches Down in the International Airport
    • Sustainability: Sacramento Public Library (CA), Read and Feed: Partnerships for Building Healthy Communities

    About Pima County Public Library
    Pima County Public Library (PCPL), which is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, has 27 libraries serving Tucson, unincorporated Pima County, and surrounding communities including Ajo, Arivaca, Catalina, Green Valley, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, and South Tucson. By promoting literacy and reading through books, programs, and a wide range of free services such as audiobooks, eBooks, Homework Help, and Job Help, the Library is enriching lives, providing opportunities to learn, create, and connect, and contributing to the economic development of the community. For more information, visit www.library.pima.gov.

    About the Urban Libraries Council
    As a membership organization made up of America’s premier public library systems and the organizations that serve them, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has spent more than 40 years enriching urban communities by strengthening their public libraries. While ULC members primarily represent urban and suburban libraries, lessons from their work are widely used by all libraries. ULC serves as a forum for thought leaders sharing best and next practices resulting from targeted research, education, and emerging trends. Its programs are recognized for creating new frameworks that invigorate public libraries and their communities.