June 5, 2018

San Francisco Public Library Named 2018 Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. & NEW YORK, NY – June 5, 2018 – San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) is the 2018 Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year. Under the leadership of recently retired City Librarian Luis Herrera and now Acting City Librarian Michael Lambert, SFPL is a library system that actively promotes San Francisco’s values of inclusion, diversity and equality and creates programs and policies to support those democratic values.

“The San Francisco Public Library plays a crucial role in supporting our city’s values and policies,” wrote Mayor Mark Farrell. “Their open doors, immigration and citizenship programs, compassionate staff and community connections reflect our longstanding commitment to being a Sanctuary City.”

As the 2018 Library of the Year, SFPL will receive a cash prize of $10,000, is featured on the cover of Library Journal’s (LJ’s) June 15, 2018 issue, available in print and online, and will be honored at a reception at ALA 2018 in New Orleans. Established in 1992, each year the Library of the Year Award celebrates the library that most profoundly demonstrates service to the community, creativity and innovating in developing specific community programs or has seen dramatic increase in library use and leadership in creating programs emulated by other libraries. To learn more, visit: http://bit.ly/2Hn1Swt.

The SFPL story builds on the transformational leadership of Herrera, the 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year, who retired this past February after 13 years.

“I feel as though I’ve had an Ivy League education working with Luis Herrera. Luis was a transformational leader. He created an amazing culture of service and innovation here, but it is also a family culture for the staff. We care about one another, and we celebrate each other,” Lambert said.

“We have an incredible talent pool at SFPL,” Lambert continued. “Four years ago, we set out to be the premier urban library in the country, and our staff have bought in. We launched an initiative called Service Excellence, and every staff member, custodian, page, security staff, our librarians, our managers, everybody goes through service excellence training. People have committed themselves to the patron focus service model, and they have committed to being a safe and welcoming library, a preferred destination [for] all San Franciscans.”

More than 6.6 million customers used SFPL’s library facilities in 2017, including the Main Library in the Civic Center, 27 neighborhood branches and four mobile outreach vehicles. The library system enjoys extraordinary political and fiscal support thanks to a voter led initiative that mandates an annual funding set aside from the city’s property tax revenues, resulting in an annual budget of $126 million or $144 per capita. Every SFPL library is open seven days a week and all 27 neighborhood branches are open a minimum of 50 hours each, with some open 55 and the Main Library open 60 hours.

In his support of SFPL’s nomination for 2018 Library of the Year, author, publisher, philanthropist and San Francisco resident, Dave Eggers said, “This library has real energy. It has real passion. They move quickly on initiatives and they say ‘yes.’ Contrary to some large institutions, that can be burdened by their own size and history, and which have the alacrity of a cruise ship, the SFPL is nimble, creative, and always inclined to find a way to make things happen.”

“The people of San Francisco are very lucky to have this excellent library at their fingertips, and the library profession is lucky to have it as a model and inspiration,” said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal and School Library Journal. “San Francisco Public Library is truly a national leader in developing models of inclusion, demonstrating bold approaches to serving the diverse and underserved segments of it community, and redefining how urban libraries can and should be responsive to the national dialog on democracy.”

Also featured in the June 15, 2018 issue of Library Journal are two other libraries honored with special mentions in the 2018 Library of the Year Award program. They are:

  • Chicago Public Library, honored for the second consecutive year, under the leadership of Commissioner and CEO Brian Bannon
  • Cuyahoga County Public Library, Ohio, under the leadership of Executive Director Sari Feldman

A team of LJ editors winnowed the competitive nomination pool to a group of semi-finalists. Each of those was evaluated by a panel of qualified industry professionals—including Kent Oliver, director of Nashville Public Library, 2017 Gale/LJ Library of the Year, and Lance Werner, executive director, Kent District Library, Michigan, 2018 LJ Librarian of the Year.

For award guidelines, visit http://lj.libraryjournal.com/awards.

About Library Journal

Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 75,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJ. Library Journal reviews over 8,000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and websites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. For more information, visit www.libraryjournal.com. Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library Journal, The Horn Book, and Junior Library Guild.

About Gale

Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when, and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit: www.gale.com.