In 2009, a committee of MLAs recommended in the Framework for the Future report on the future of Alberta's libraries that the Government of Alberta "designate public libraries that house innovative programs, services or technologies as centres of excellence", and "package and share their knowledge and expertise."
An awards program is a way to identify, acknowledge and encourage best practices, and to capture and communicate ideas that can be replicated by libraries across Alberta.
Great ideas from the minister's awards
Here are some of the best repeatable ideas from the minister's awards:
Public Library Service on a First Nations Reserve – This was achieved by developing and implementing a model to provide public library service on the Blood Tribe First Nations reserve.
Make Career Choices: Job and Career Development – Community based program, coordinated network of career support services for youth and adults.
Readers Festival: STARFest – Festival celebrates reading and writing.
OUT LOUD – Program contains several series within it to engage children and youth.
Tales for the Tall/Wii for the Tall – Programs for the developmentally disabled, created by Airdrie Public Library.
Teens After Hours – Program in which teens come to the library after regular open hours, developed by Airdrie Public Library.
Project Connect – Initiative to deliver services to immigrants, developed by Brooks Public Library.
The Living Library – Program that designates individuals as "books" that can be "signed out" by library patrons. It was implemented by Calgary Public Library.
It's a Crime Not to Read – Literacy program by Calgary Public Library.
The Freedom Project – Initiative to celebrate Freedom To Read Week by Edmonton Public Library.
Law at Lunch – Videoconference program by Lethbridge Public Library.