Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has earned a 2018 ASAE Power of A Gold Award for its Leaders Library Card Challenge (LLCC), a national effort to ensure that every child enrolled in school has access to the valuable learning resources available at public libraries.

ASAE honored Urban Libraries Council for its program which was launched in 2015 by President Obama as part of his ConnectED Initiative. LLCC grew out of a belief that more intentional collaboration among chief elected officials, school superintendents and library directors could improve education outcomes for all students, begin to close achievement gaps and create a framework for an integrated approach to education. LLCC is supported by funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is led by ULC.

Sixty communities participated in the program’s first call to action and collectively issued new library cards to more than 1 million school children in less than one year of work. Many of those cards were first-time virtual cards giving students instant 24/7 access to library resources using their student IDs.

A survey of libraries that participated in LLCC’s first round found that within one year of initiating the work: 90 percent had a new/expanded relationship with school leaders, 63 percent had created a library-school memorandum of understanding, 71 percent are now working with school and/or local government leaders in new ways — beyond distributing library cards — and 58 percent gained local media coverage about their collaborative work to improve education outcomes.

ASAE’s Power of A (association) Awards, the industry’s highest honor, recognize the association community’s valuable contributions on the local, national and global levels.  The Power of A Awards reward the outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals who work tirelessly to strengthen lives, the workforce, our systems and structures, the economy and the world.