The Riverside County Library System is one of seven libraries across the United States to receive a 2005 John Cotton Dana Public Relations Award from the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). This award, which goes to the Library for its Leer Es Triunfar (Reading Is Succeeding) project promoting library use among Latino residents of Riverside County, was announced at the ALA’s Midwinter meeting in Boston on Saturday, January 15.

The ALA press release announcing the award describes Leer Es Triunfar as “an innovative project. . .designed to increase the awareness and use of library services among Latino residents in Riverside County through a series of public programs, community events, celebrity television spots and targeted Spanish-language publications.” It is the first time that the Riverside County Library System has received this award.

Leer Es Triunfar was launched in October 2003 with a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the California State Library. The State Library provided a second year of grant funding for the project for 2004-05 in addition to support from county sources.

Beginning in January 2004, Leer Es Triunfar produced a series a television and radio spots, including celebrity endorsements by author Victor Villaseñor, soccer star Mauricio Cienfuegos, filmmaker John Carlos Frey, and others. The project also produced a hip-hop song for radio play as well as a high profile series of library programs including author talks, programs for children, computer classes, art contests, photography exhibits, and a job fair.

“We are extremely proud of this award,” said County Librarian Nancy Johnson. “And we are proud of the Leer Es Triunfar project which has generated a great deal of excitement and use of library services by Latino residents of Riverside County. The project has also provided a way for us to receive feedback from the Latino community as to what library services are most needed,” said Johnson.

Six other libraries won the Dana Award this year: Seattle Public Library, San Diego State University Library, Louisiana Center for the Book at the State Library of Louisiana, Maricopa County Library District (Phoenix), Calgary Public Library (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), and North Suburban Library System (Wheeling, IL). Dozens of libraries across the country submitted applications for the award.

The award will be formally presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference to be held in Chicago in June 2005.