With funding around the United States and Canada constrained, libraries are leveraging the public’s investment by finding innovative approaches to strengthen their communities.

The Urban Libraries Council recently recognized 10 libraries as “Top Innovators.” These libraries have proven themselves unfazed by the rough terrain and are providing their communities with essential resources through inventive programs. GCPL’s Customer Contact Center was recognized as a “Top Innovator” in the Customer Experience category.

A panel of expert judges selected the Customer Contact Center from a pool of over 250 submissions as one of 10 library practices that best embodies the 21st century library’s role as a community leader and pioneer for positive change.

“Now, more than ever, libraries must act as leaders in their community to provide resources that many have taken for granted,” said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton. “During times of economic and social difficulties, these libraries have stepped up to the challenge of inspiring change while helping their communities thrive.”

GCPL’s Customer Contact Center was created to decrease customer wait time, improve service, and increase the quality of library subject and research guides. Full-time, specialized staff work from a dedicated call center at the Lilburn branch to handle thousands of customer calls a month, including more than 19,000 in August alone. A live chat feature was also added to the library website to offer customers an easy way to reach staff and have their questions answered.

“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees,” says Charles Pace, GCPL Executive Director. “I am particularly pleased that this award recognizes some of our employees who are a voice on the phone but who may not always get the attention and accolades they deserve.”

The list of 2017 ULC Innovations can be viewed at UrbanLibraries.org.