Lynn Arave, Deseret Morning News
The Salt Lake City Library is located at 210 E. 400 South and offers unique architecture.

The Salt Lake City Public Library System was recently named Library of the Year for its commitment to being a center for community members to come together.

The City Library was chosen to receive the top award out of numerous libraries from around the nation who submitted a nomination.

"(The award's) focus was on creating a place of community and common ground, the essence of making a democratic place where individuals and groups can come together to discuss as citizens," Nancy Tessman, director of the Salt Lake City Public Library, said. "We've just been more successful and a lot of folks are looking to us as a model."

The award includes a $10,000 cash award, a feature story in the professional publication Library Journal and a gala reception that was held at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in New Orleans at the end of June. The $10,000 will be used to pay for the cost of those who went to New Orleans, a party for the community and library staff to celebrate the award, and the remaining money will go into collections in the library, Tessman said.

Tessman was happy the library received the award, especially since community involvement has been an important focus.

"We're delighted and very proud," she said. "This is an affirmation of the motive behind the new main library in general and the value we place on community and civic dialogue."

Roger Sandack, a member of the Library Board of Trustees and former chairman of the board, said the award is a reflection of the library staff's hard work.

"I believe that it was highly deserved on behalf of our staff and especially Nancy Tessman, who has worked so hard not just to bring the new library to our community itself but to bring together the programs and services that have allowed the community to use the library as a place for the community," he said.

The award is sponsored by Library Journal magazine and Thomson Gale, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses.

Sandack said the award showcases the library's commitment to its patrons.

"It has always been our mission to serve our patrons as best we could given our resources," he said. "This demonstrates that we have been successful in the recent past and that we will continue to serve our patrons in the future in this way just as they have supported us with their taxes and with their participation."

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