The San Diego County Library system was named 2012 “Library of the Year” by Library Journal magazine and Gale, an educational publishing company, for “profoundly demonstrating service to community” by automating services, increasing circulation and the number programs it offers — despite the recession.

The award is given each year to the top public library in the nation. The journal said the County library system showed creativity and ingenuity by automating services such as self-checkout services; re-configuring library spaces to create more interaction among library staff and visitors; and offering services such as “floating collections,” which allow readers to check out a book at one library branch and turn it in at another. The journal also lauded the County for offering more programs — including the library’s award-winning Foreclosure Prevention HOME clinics, parenting classes, summer reading clubs and fitness programs — and for attracting more adults, teens and kids to them.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts said the County was proud to receive the award.

“We know that libraries are special places that can change people’s lives,” Roberts said, “For us, they are important centers of learning with resources to create opportunities for residents of all ages.”

In addition to improving services, increasing circulation and adding programs, the County has built seven libraries in the last five years, and is currently working on building new branches in Lincoln Acres and Lemon Grove. 

Part of the award is a $10,000 prize, which the library system plans to use to help buy more library materials.

County Library Director Jose Aponte said library employees work hard to keep their fingers on the pulse of County communities.

“San Diego County Library has always been and will always be about the people we serve, who give us purpose and inspire our dedicated staff to provide the best service possible,” Aponte said. “We’re delighted to receive this recognition and there is no greater way to honor our community, our staff and our library.”

The County is scheduled to formally receive the award June 24 at the American Library Association’s annual conference in Anaheim.

For more information about the County library system, click here.