Urban Libraries Council Recognizes DeKalb County Public Library for Library Innovation

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Andrew Cauthen Quinn Hudson
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December 21, 2020

Urban Libraries Council Recognizes DeKalb County Public Library for Library Innovation
‘DeKalb Votes Challenge’ elevates library’s value as a community institution

DECATUR, Ga.–The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) announced DeKalb County Public Library as an Innovations Initiative honorable mention award winner during the 2020 ULC Innovations Celebration held virtually on Dec. 11. The annual innovations award program recognizes and raises the visibility of cutting-edge programs, strategies, tools, techniques and ideas from ULC’s member library systems across the U.S. and Canada.

DeKalb County Public Library’s “DeKalb Votes Challenge” was selected by a panel of expert judges from 260 submissions in 10 categories that showcase creative thinking and imaginative applications of library resources. DeKalb County Public Library (DCPL) won in the category of Civic and Community Engagement, with award winners being recognized for their level of ingenuity, the outcomes achieved and the ability for other libraries to adapt and implement their work.

“This year’s winners have quickly taken bold moves to ensure that the library continues to serve the needs of the people in their community – especially those most vulnerable including children, stressed families, isolated seniors and struggling small businesses,” said Urban Libraries Council President and CEO Susan Benton. “In the 10th year of our Innovations Initiative, we received the most dynamic and cutting-edge submissions to date. We celebrate DeKalb County Public Library for creating an initiative that will positively impact their community and serve as a model to public libraries throughout North America.”

The goal of the DeKalb Votes Challenge is to provide a fun way for participants to learn about the voting process. Participants earn challenge badges while learning about the history of voting in the U.S., voter registration information and resources, election dates, new voting machines, absentee ballots and much more.

“Creating this challenge afforded the library the opportunity to strengthen established relationships with existing civic organizations and build new relationships with others. We partnered with organizations such as the DeKalb Board of Elections, NAACP, League of Women Voters, The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and others in support of the national Get Out the Vote and National Voter Registration Day initiatives,” said Myguail Chappel, DCPL staff member and co-creator of the DeKalb Votes Challenge.

Library Director Alison Weissinger said, “2020 has been a pivotal election year in our country. With the presidential election happening in the middle of a pandemic, we wanted to make sure our patrons were informed about the voting process. DeKalb Votes was a fun and interactive way to get information out.”

All 2020 ULC Innovations entries can be viewed at urbanlibraries.org.

About Urban Libraries Council
The Urban Libraries Council is an innovation and impact tank of North America’s leading public library systems. ULC drives cutting-edge research and strategic partnerships to elevate the power of libraries as essential, transformative institutions for the 21st-century. More than 150 urban member libraries in the U.S. and Canada rely on ULC to identify significant challenges facing today’s communities and provide new tools and techniques to help libraries achieve stronger outcomes in education, digital equity, workforce and economic development, and race and social equity.