ICPL advances to Sweetums16 for Leslie B. Knope Award

Posted by Meredith on February 5, 2018 - 11:03am

The Iowa City Public Library is in the running for the best library in the United States!

Presented by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL), the Leslie B. Knope Award is meant to highlight “organizations and individuals that motivate, inspire and attract the best and brightest to local government.”


ICPL was one of nearly 90 public libraries initially nominated for the award, which is named after local government champion Leslie B. Knope on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Knope is played by actress Amy Poehler.


Public votes determine which libraries advance in the competition. Thanks to support in the first two rounds of voting, ICPL is now in the Sweetums16 Ron Swanson bracket, competing for Big Ten bragging rights against Schlow Centre Region Library, in State College, Penn., home to Penn State University.


Voting in the Sweetums16 round continues through Friday, February 9. Voters may only vote once. The libraries with the most votes will advance to a group of eight. Currently, Iowa City and the City of Cedar Rapids are the only libraries in Iowa still in the contest.


The overall winner will be announced on March 2.


Go here to vote for ICPL.


While the award is named after Leslie Knope, fans of “Parks and Recreation” know she’s not a fan of public libraries. Part of Knope’s dislike of the Pawnee library was due to its director, Tammy Swanson. Played by Megan Mullally, Tammy Swanson is the ex-wife of Knope’s colleague and friend, Ron Swanson, played by Mullally’s real-life husband, Nick Offerman.


ICPL does not employ anyone named Tammy. What the Library does have is a Bookmobile to bring the Library to those unable to visit our downtown location. The Library also has dedicated space for its teen patrons and a remodeled children’s room with space for Tween Library users. We’ve received national attention for our Autism Accessible Browsing Hour, during which we open an hour early on Saturdays to serve those on the autism spectrum.


Located in the UNESCO City of Literature, ICPL is the busiest public library in the state, averaging 235 visitors per hour. We had 1.3 million items circulated during fiscal year 2017, with digital materials – including eBooks, audiobooks and digital magazines – accounting for nearly 15 percent of that total.


The Library circulates Wi-Fi Hotspots as well as laptop computers, and has a mobile app. MyICPL allows patrons to conveniently access and manage their accounts, search the catalog, add events to a personal calendar, and contact the library. Framed art pieces, book club kits and storytime kits are also available to check out.


ICPL also supports and promotes area musicians through the Local Music Project, a collection of albums from eastern Iowa musicians. Patrons are able to stream or download the music by logging in to the website with their ICPL Library Card.


For more information, call the Library at 319-356-5200.