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All Awards

2020 Trailblazers Wall Awarded By Virginia Association of Counties (VACo)

Trailblazers Wall

Awarded by the Virginia Association of Counties

The Trailblazers Wall at the Fairfield Area Library in Henrico, Virginia is an inclusive, dynamic digital history wall that showcases biographies of individuals whose lives and work had major impacts on the county, the state, and the nation. Inspired by the Supervisor of the Fairfield District, content for the wall was selected by a committee of community members knowledgeable about local history, with the goal of inspiring paths in life for young people of the Fairfield District. The resulting wall highlights many people of color and women whose historical narratives have been submerged, and demonstrates how community engagement can lead to more inclusive and valuable services in public libraries. Public response and usage patterns show that the inclusive historical display has deeply resonated with the community, and that local history has a natural home in public libraries.

2019 Sensory Storytime Awarded by National Association of Counties (NACo)

Sensory Storytime

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Sensory Storytime is an early literacy program designed to be adaptive and inclusive to children of all abilities, with particular emphasis on serving children on the Autism spectrum. At Henrico County Public Library, a Children’s Librarian recognized the need to reflect the neurodiversity of her community in the Library’s programming. The Librarian partnered with Henrico’s Infant & Toddler Services, located in the Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services, to provide trained assistance for families and caregivers of children on the Autism spectrum during a specially-designed storytime. Library staff presenters are trained to be attentive to each child and make adaptations as needed throughout the program to meet all participants’ needs. The Librarian envisioned Sensory Storytime as a gateway to the library for families and children who have not traditionally been encouraged to see the library as their own. The program focuses on fine and gross motor movement, oral skills, songs, rhymes, and books, with time after each program dedicated to encouraging child and family interaction and bonding through play. Sensory Storytime creates an accessible, engaging, and safe early literacy program for children on the Autism spectrum and their caregivers.

2019 Music and Memory Awarded By National Association of Counties (NACo)

Music and Memory

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Inspired by the documentary film Alive Inside, Henrico County Public Library staff members combined a love of music and passion for serving the aging to create the Music & Memory program. Music & Memory seeks to spark opportunities for older adults to connect to the past and others using popular music of their youth. Already passionate about music and skilled in research, staff from Henrico County’s Mobile Library Services purchased vinyl records of artists from the 1930s-50s, and researched and compiled artist biographies, to play for and inspire discussions with residents of local Senior communities. The program successfully opens a dialogue between Seniors and their peers about their past and what music means and has meant to them. Music && Memory stimulates deep memory in older adults, opening up their ability to communicate. The program builds a bridge between both people, and the past and present, enriching lives and fostering a sense of community for older adults and those with memory disorders.

2019 Closing the Distance Between Us Awarded by National Association of Counties (NACo)

Closing the Distance Between Us

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Henrico is a rapidly growing and diversifying County in the Central Virginia region. Henrico County Public Library has responded to the changing community by hosting a series of programs to welcome its new immigrant residents. These efforts have resulted in greater engagement between the Library and immigrants in Henrico, which in turn informed the Library’s decision to host author Reyna Grande to discuss her immigration memoir The Distance Between Us at the Library’s signature event, All Henrico Reads, in 2018. After the event with Ms. Grande, the Library hosted a moderated discussion panel featuring local residents and staff who immigrated to Henrico, called “Closing The Distance Between Us.” The panel opened up dialogue and understanding between long-time Henrico residents and new, at a time when immigration is at the forefront of our national discussion.

2019 Caregiver Kits Awarded By Virginia Association of Counties (VACo)

Caregiver Kits

Awarded by the Virginia Association of Counties

Caregiver Kits at Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) enable those experiencing memory loss or dementia-related illness to connect easily with family members, friends, and caregivers by revisiting familiar themes from their lives. The kits contain books with vibrant photographs, DVDs of classic movies or television shows, popular music CDs, and discussion prompts, all chosen with the goal of encouraging memory and conversation. Each kit has a theme with broad appeal such as local history, cooking, or pets. Anyone with a library card can check out a kit to share with an older adult who may be suffering from a memory deficiency. Adults with memory disorders often have difficulty communicating verbally, but sensory stimulation reminiscent of their past, such as the images and music in Caregiver Kits, can stimulate deep memory and help them find the words they need to connect with their loved ones.