The Neuse Regional Library won two 2019 North Carolina Public Library Directors Association (NCPLDA) Awards. The first was an Outstanding New/Improved Library Facility Award for our Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library Teen Area. The second was a Staff Development Award for our Pathways to Career Advancement: Tech Boot Camps and Job Shadowing initiative. Outstanding New/Improved Library Facility Award – Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library Teen Area.
The Neuse Regional Library was recognized by the NCPLDA on December 5, 2019 at the NCPLDA Banquet in Winston-Salem for creating a new vibrant teen area at the Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library (KLCPL). As part of our strategic planning process, which included surveys and facilitation workshops, the Library identified a strong desire within the community to have a safe space for teens where they could connect with one another, and participate in active learning programs in Downtown Kinston. With this sense of mission, the Library began revaluating the KLCPL floor plan, rethinking the traditional library model, and sought to reconfigure existing spaces. After weeks of contemplating potential enhancements to the existing library floor plan, the Library elected to remove two large periodical shelving units, reconfigure the remaining shelving with the help of a considerable amount of volunteer manpower, and remove a great deal of furniture to create an open blank space for the new Teen Area.
The new Teen Area/STEM Lab, along with increased programming for young adults, make up just one part of the new Neuse Regional Library Strategic Plan, in which the Library is thoughtfully utilizing existing library spaces to create smart spaces where community members can engage in active learning and connect with one another. The Library looks forward to providing more revitalized spaces at all the Neuse Regional Libraries as part of our strategic plan, and we will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our communities by inspiring creativity, fostering learning, and engaging our communities.
Staff Development Award – Pathways to Career Advancement: Tech Boot Camps and Job Shadowing. Over the past year, the Neuse Regional Libraries (NRL) have made great strides to be a center for community connections that provides evolving technologies, programming, and services to meet 21st century literacy needs, while making accessible a collection that is as diverse and intergenerational as the people of Lenoir, Jones and Greene Counties. As part of this mission, the NRL looked internally to begin to create a dynamic workforce to better serve our community, and develop paths to career advancement. Neuse Regional Libraries received NCPLDA’s Staff Development Award for its program Pathways to Career Advancement: Tech Boot Camps and Job Shadowing.
The Library was recognized for developing a low stress Technology Boot Camp training model to increase staff competency relating to technology, and creating a systematic Job Shadowing Program that allows staff members to fulfill the objective of increasing staff knowledge of the roles played by other staff members, and thereby increasing the library’s ability to provide quality service to patrons without gaps in service.
Moreover, the Library also entered into a partnership with Lenoir Community College to create internships funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provide an introduction into librarianship for local students. So far the Library has hosted two interns who have worked in public service positions in the Library where they have received hands-on experience with working with the public, interacting with library software, providing basic reference services, assisting with computer use and digital resources, and creating and presenting Library programming. Our ultimate goal in developing the Pathways to Career Advancement: Tech Boot Camps and Job Shadowing model is to cultivate leadership and staff development through participation in community and professional outreach.
2019 has been a transformational year for the Neuse Regional Library, and we are grateful to be recognized by the NCPLDA for our part in creating a bright and sustainable future for Lenoir, Jones, and Greene Counties in the field of librarianship. However, we know we could not do it without the support of our communities and strong leadership of our local government entities and library board members. Thanks to each of you for your support and advocacy of the Neuse Regional Libraries.