The Palm Beach County Library System recently received two 2021 awards from the Florida Library Association (FLA). Library Director Douglas Crane received the Librarian of the Year award and the Birding Backpacks program received the Library Innovation Award.
In addition, Jennifer Gallagher, Library Education and Technical Manager, and Melanie Norberto, Library Associate, received graduate scholarships in Library and Information Science from the FLA.
Librarian of the Year – The Crane cited by the FLA is an inclusive leader who embodies compassion, vision, communication and efficiency. Since his appointment as Director of the Palm Beach County Library System, Crane has led the organization through major changes including revising the mission and strategic plan, strengthening the work culture and improved communication. In 2020, he led his system in the face of extraordinary challenges. Between a pandemic, a presidential visit and the threat of two hurricanes, his steadfast hand has supported the needs of staff and the community.
Innovation Library – The Palm Beach County Library System, in partnership with the Friends of the Palm Beach County Library and the Audubon Society of the Everglades, created backpacks for birding – kits with a pair of Professional-grade adult binoculars, two children’s binoculars, wipes and a Florida Birds – as of May 2019. Available at all 17 branches and bookmobile, these kits have circulated over 270 times. Due to its success, the library system was approached by other libraries in the United States to recreate this popular kit. Birding backpacks are the culmination of a 40-year relationship with the Audubon Society of the Everglades, and an improvement on a collection of ornithological periodicals spanning decades.