2018 NACo Achievement Award

Night Sky Astronomy

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) first partnered with the Richmond Astronomical Society to present “Observe the Moon Night” in 2015 at Twin Hickory Library. The program aimed to provide a community event that would be educational and enjoyable for library patrons of all ages. It was an instant success, attracting 100 participants ranging in age from small children to senior citizens. Members of the Richmond Astronomical Society supplied high-quality telescopes, instructed viewers on using the equipment, and provided information about the moon and other celestial objects they could view. Observe the Moon Night was soon replicated at the Tuckahoe Library, drawing another large crowd. In 2017, HCPL was invited to participate in the national NASA @ My Library project and continued a partnership with Richmond Astronomical Society to increase STEM programming in Henrico. The program goal was expanded beyond providing an event for families to increasing access to scientific learning opportunities for Henrico residents. “Night Sky Astronomy” programs at Libbie Mill and Varina Libraries drew large and highly diverse crowds at little cost to the library system.

2018 NACo Achievement Award

Interactive Teen Displays

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Teen programming in public libraries typically emphasizes group participation in scheduled events and provides opportunities for teens to socialize with their peers. As a result, introverted teens and teens who lack transportation may not have the same opportunities as their more sociable or mobile peers to engage with the library. To accommodate these teens through an engaging, passive program, librarians at Libbie Mill Library in Henrico, Virginia began creating monthly, interactive displays aiming to inform, entertain, and encourage teens to contribute and explore responses. Since June 2016, more than 3,300 teens have interacted with the displays which have covered a range of topics including: New Year’s Resolutions, Summer Reading, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month, and Earth Day. Librarians have found that the displays foster and strengthen relationships between teens, their peers, and library staff. The displays successfully engage teens with library services on their own schedule and on their own terms with the ultimate goal of inspiring teens to become lifelong library users.

2018 NACo Achievement Award

Death Cafes and Bereavement Groups

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) partnered with Alane Ford (formerly Alane Miles) of James River Home Health and Hospice to provide programs dedicated to supportive discussion of death and grief. People of all ages experience the loss of loved ones and colleagues, and, like many other localities, Henrico County is experiencing the effects of the age wave as the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement. Facing the need to provide information and support to a population increasingly experiencing grief, and desiring to break through the stigma surrounding conversations of death and dying, Ms. Ford offered her expertise to provide Death Cafés and Bereavement Groups at HCPL. The programs provide a needed community service, leverage the reputation of the library as a safe space to learn and explore ideas, and provide an outreach opportunity for James River Home Health and Hospice. Programs have been attended by community members of all ages, and due to demand, the program has expanded from annual Death Café events into monthly Bereavement Group meetings.

2018 Outstanding Adult Program

Death Cafes and Bereavement Groups

Awarded by the Virginia Public Library Director's Association

Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) partnered with Alane Ford (formerly Alane Miles) of James River Home Health and Hospice to provide programs dedicated to supportive discussion of death and grief. People of all ages experience the loss of loved ones and colleagues, and, like many other localities, Henrico County is experiencing the effects of the age wave as the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement. Facing the need to provide information and support to a population increasingly experiencing grief, and desiring to break through the stigma surrounding conversations of death and dying, Ms. Ford offered her expertise to provide Death Cafés and Bereavement Groups at HCPL. The programs provide a needed community service, leverage the reputation of the library as a safe space to learn and explore ideas, and provide an outreach opportunity for James River Home Health and Hospice. Programs have been attended by community members of all ages, and due to demand, the program has expanded from annual Death Café events into monthly Bereavement Group meetings.

2017 NACo Achievement Award

Library Heritage Wall

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

HeritageWallAwardThe Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) opened its new Libbie Mill Area Library in October 2015. The Library wanted to tie in the rich history of the county with its new, modern building. Henrico County is over 400 years old and is rich with history that is unknown to most residents. The new library space provided an opportunity to bring light to this history. The Heritage Wall Interactive project was accomplished by a team consisting of members from HCPL, the Department of General Services, and architectural firms BCWH and Tappe, as well as the Department of Recreation and Parks, working to create the infrastructure and gather historical research. The team worked with Second Story, a firm specializing in experiential video installations, to create an immersive and engaging visual learning experience for patrons that they would not have anywhere else. The Heritage Wall is a museum-quality, visually stunning, and highly informative representation of Henrico County’s rich historical record, situated in an accessible location in a neighborhood library.

2017 NACo Achievement Award

100 Brilliant Ideas at Work Award: Children’s and Teen Neighborhood Collections

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

NeighborhoodAwardNeighborhood Collections are a new way of organizing materials that is more responsive to the way that children and teens look for books. The program began in Henrico County Public Libraries (HCPL) in 2012, when Erin Lovelace, a Children’s Librarian in the county, noticed a need for children’s books to be organized by subject to improve ease of access. The first Neighborhoods were created for children, and the subjects were Dinosaurs, Transportation, and Farms. Each of these Neighborhoods included both fiction and non-fiction titles for preschool to early elementary children. The program was then expanded to encompass teen literature, and teen books were grouped into Neighborhoods based on emotion and mood. After assessing the program, both the Children’s and Teen Neighborhood Collections added to the customer experience and improved circulation of materials.

2017 NACo Achievement Award

Library Author Showcase

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

authorShowcaseAwardAwardThe Henrico Community Author Showcase is a public library program which allows local authors to present and promote their books and discuss and connect with other writers and readers in the community at a Henrico County Public Library (HCPL). A unique feature of this program is that it operates as “self-serve.” The program allows local authors to sign-up and share their books during a 90-minute evening time slot at an area library. Authors can read, discuss their writing process, sell, sign, and promote their book. The program enables authors to donate a copy of their book to the library’s collection for checkout and to make an optional donation to the Friends of the Henrico County Public Library. The program is mutually beneficial to authors and libraries. The Henrico Community Author Showcase meets all three key points of the library’s mission via this program: promoting reading, connecting people with the information they need, and enriching community life.

2017 NACo Achievement Award

Library Nature Study

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

NatureStudyAwardThe Nature Study Series at Henrico County Public Library provides environmental education programs that begin in the library, and then explore surrounding outdoor natural areas. The Nature Study Series of programs began at the Libbie Mill Area Library in June 2016, as a partnership between Henrico County Public Libraries and Gumenick Properties, the developer of the placemaking complex that surrounds Libbie Mill Library. Each Nature Study Program blends literature, nature, science, storytelling, exercise, and outdoor adventure in a manner designed to inspire curiosity in Henrico County families and to show off the practical use of the library’s collection. These library programs are unique in their content and format and use the resources found inside and outside of the library. The program has expanded to include three additional libraries. Nature Study Programs are attended by entire families while reaching the intended audience of four- to twelve-year-olds. The Nature Study Series will be offered annually and will continue to expand its reach and scope of natural topics through development of additional programs and offering them at more library locations.

2017 George Mason Award

Gerald M. McKenna

Awarded by the Virginia Library Association

This award recognizes Individuals (librarians or professional associates), libraries, or other organizations distinguished for advocacy of libraries and/or information access. Gerald McKenna, Henrico County Public Library Director from 1995-2018, was recognized for his achievements in Henrico County and in library advocacy across the state during his distinguished career.

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