The American Library Association (ALA) has named Las Vegas-Clark County Library District (LVCCLD) as the 2022 recipient of its “Library of the Future Award.” Sponsored by the ALA and Information Today Inc., the annual award recognizes innovative planning, application, or development of focused customer support relating to information technology in libraries.
The Library District was selected for its “Bringing the Library to Transit Riders” program, a partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC). The program enables transit riders to instantly sign up for access to online materials using the RTC’s free onboard WiFi on approximately 400 transit buses throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Riders simply scan a QR code featured inside buses to download the Libby app, and sign up for library access by entering their mobile number. The library system instantly verifies the new account, and riders can immediately begin borrowing eBooks, eAudiobooks, magazines, and movies at no cost, on the bus, at home, or anywhere on the go. The program also allows temporary library access to transit riders who are visitors to Las Vegas via a seven-day pass to the Libby app.
“Through this initiative, the Library District is making the library more accessible to discover the life-changing resources we provide in new and unexpected places,” said Kelvin Watson, executive director, who joined the Library District in February 2021. “The RTC’s fleet of buses made more than 35 million passenger trips in 2021, making RTC the ideal partner for us to reach potential new customers who may have never had a library experience before. This innovative program uses simple technology to let riders access free resources and enter a wonderful world of discovery.”
“The RTC is committed to increasing equity and accessibility for our customers, and this innovative partnership has allowed us to support our riders with tools and resources to grow, learn and enrich their lives,” said M.J. Maynard, RTC chief executive officer. “We are excited about this meaningful collaboration with the Library District to bring all of the services the library has to offer in a simple, accessible and equitable way directly to our riders during their daily commute.”
The 2022 Library of the Future award is the third such win for Watson. His library teams also received the award for programs that he implemented at Broward County Libraries in Florida and at Queens Borough Public Library in New York. He is the only three-time recipient in the award’s history.
“This is just one of several innovative programs that Kelvin has introduced during his first year at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, using technology to reach new audiences in unexpected places,” said Brian Wilson, chair of the Library District Board of Trustees. “Our service area covers 8,000 square miles, from urban neighborhoods to small towns, and our residents benefit greatly from Kelvin’s leadership, resourcefulness, and creative thinking.”
The award will be presented to Watson during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. in June 2022.