Park City Library director wins Innovator Award
Adriane Juarez started her podcast in 2017
For information about the Mountain Plains Library Association, visit mpla.us
For information about the “Library Leadership Podcast,” visit libraryleadershippodcast.com
Park City Library Director Adriane Herrick Juarez attended the Mountain Plains Library Association‘s 2023 conference in Norman, Oklahoma, earlier this month and returned with an accolade.
Juarez is the recipient of this year’s MPLA Innovator Award for her “Library Leadership Podcast.”
“I was surprised and thrilled and honored,” she said. “It means a great amount that librarians have recognized me for this contribution that can better serve our constituencies.”
The Innovator Award recognizes individuals or groups in the MPLA region for “creative, inventive and trailblazing projects that have significance to the library community,” according to the MPLA.
“A librarian from the state of Utah nominated me, and I got a call from the awards committee chair letting me know that I was nominated,” Juarez said.
The MPLA, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is a non-profit organization that promotes the development of librarians and libraries, Juarez said.
“It’s a 12-state association that helps librarians, paraprofessionals and friends through education and networking opportunities,” she said.
Members hail from the following states:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Juarez started the “Library Leadership Podcast,” which can be heard at libraryleadershippodcast.com or any podcast app, in 2017, after being inspired by conversations she had with other librarians during conferences such as the one held by the MPLA.
“We would chat about programs and initiatives that their libraries were doing, and I would come back and try them out in our own library,” she said. “I realized a podcast about library leadership and things we are doing would really help other librarians in other places to design programs from these ideas.”
The podcast addresses library leadership in general, and touches on topics including navigating middle management, coaching staff in the workplace, staff wellness and kind leadership, according to Juarez.
“We also discuss how to deal with change in our fast-paced information environment, creating a winning-team culture, library ethics, censorship and book banning,” she said. “Libraries are up against a lot of things today that we haven’t had to deal with much in the past. And the podcast gives a voice to people who are doing great things on the ground floor of library services. It also gives us a place to talk about these issues and share ideas on how to best proceed in a continuously changing environment.”
Juarez airs two podcasts each month — one mid month and one toward the end of the month.
“I have equipment, a portable podcast system, that I utilize anywhere, including our library’s own sound booth,” she said. “The sound booth, which is available for the public to reserve, is actually where the podcast started.”
Juarez enjoys everything about the podcast, including thinking of topics, preparing for interviews and doing the interviews.
“I’ve been very fortunate, because when I reach out to other librarians, they have all been happy to come on the show,” she said. “Librarians are remarkable and generous people”.
Juarez also likes that the podcast is accessible to librarians across the country.
“Not everyone, especially the smaller libraries, can afford to send people to conferences, but a podcast can be accessed anywhere, even from your car, when you’re driving to work,” she said. “You can listen while you are doing your dishes. You can listen while you’re out on a walk.”
The programs are also “bite-sized,” Juarez said.
“They all run under 30 minutes, so people don’t have to take a significant time out of their day to listen,” she said.
Winning the MPLA’s Innovator Award motivates Juarez to continue sharing the knowledge she and other librarians have gained over the years.
“This is my professional-development contribution to libraries across the United States,” she said. “Some library directors write articles, do conference presentations and host leadership institutes. This is my way of giving back to a profession that means so much to me.”
Juarez’s interest in library sciences spouted when she was a child.
“I was a kid who loved books, and libraries were a place to always have books in my life,” she said. “I had created so many connections with information, history, ideas and things that made my life better through libraries. I realized libraries were places where I could make a positive difference in the world.”
Juarez was 16 when she started her library career.
“I started out as a shelver in the Salt Lake City Public Library, so you could say that I was raised by librarians,” she said. “They helped me become who I am today. It’s a legacy and a credit to their work.”
Juarez became the Park City Library director in the spring of 2013.
During her tenure, she oversaw the building’s $10 million renovation from 2014-15, and has been on board for other projects such as the installation of the Sustainability Resource Center and partnering with Mountain Town Music for the Music on the Patio series, which is funded in part by the Friends of the Park City Library.
Juarez said she is most proud of the library renovation.
“The community, library board and city council were so forward-thinking in making this space a 21st-century library,” she said. “We get comments from visitors and community members all the time about how (much) the space, the staff, the books, the programs mean to them.”
Juarez often hears how welcoming the building is and how helpful her staff is.
“The library is also sometimes the first thing many of our community members will show their visitors who come from out of town,” she said. “It has become a showcase destination. It belongs to our community, and it is also a great place to be and a great place to work.”
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