The Athens Regional Library System has been named the Georgia Public Library of the Year.
The Georgia Public Library Service presents the award to the library whose staff “best exemplifies the qualities needed to positively impact the lives of residents in the communities it serves.”
Library staff will receive the award during a public ceremony at the Athens-Clarke County Library, 2025 Baxter St., on Jan. 21 at 3 p.m.
The Athens system is the first library system to win the award, after county libraries in Hart and Lee counties won the first two years the award was given.
The Athens Regional Library System consists of 11 branches in five counties: Clarke, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Franklin and Madison.
A committee picked the Athens system based on a strong nomination dossier detailing the library’s work and programming, said State Librarian Julie Walker.
“They’ve done a lot of work to put themselves out into the community. They focus on what each individual community needs,” said Walker, a former assistant in the Athens Regional Library System. “One thing that really impressed us is how well they work together.”
The library’s youth services programs are “just spectacular,” she said.
In addition to the Jan. 21 ceremony at the Athens-Clarke County Library, state officials will recognize the Athens Regional Library System in Atlanta on June 30.
The library will also be recognized in Atlanta on Jan. 30 during the Georgia Council for Public Libraries’ annual Public Library Day at the state Capitol.