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Cutting Edge Technology in Libraries

Cutting Edge Technology in Library Services Logo

Does your library offer technology engagement that is on the cutting edge? If so the American Library Association (ALA) wants to know. Since 2009 ALA’s Office of Information Technology Policy’s America’s Libraries of the 21st Century subcommittee have been soliciting nominations for best library practices using cutting-edge technology. This award seeks to recognize libraries serving their communities with novel and innovative methods, as well as to provide the library community with successful models for delivering quality library service in new ways.

ALA is currently accepting submissions for the best library practices using cutting-edge technology. Nominations must be submitted by November 15, 2013, and winners will be announced at the upcoming 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting, which will be held January 24-28, 2013. Libraries selected for the recognition will be featured in a program at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, highlighted through ALA publications and publicized via ALA web channels.

A joint selection committee of members from the Subcommittee on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century and the Library & Information Technology Association will review all nominations and may conduct selected interviews or site visits to identify those libraries that are truly offering a best practice or most innovative service.

Nomination guidelines include the following:

“Cutting edge” refers to tested and successful implementations of technological advancements used in services such as:

  • Improvements in traditional services and processes by inventing/re-inventing/twisting technology
  • Introduction of new, innovative services that are flexible and responsive to community needs
  • New technology-enabled methods for connecting libraries to their communities
  • Funding initiatives or organizational models that ensure library information technology will remain current


  • Must involve the use of technology
  • Must be a novel idea or implementation of a service
  • Must be able to be documented for replication by other libraries
  • Must be for a library that has been involved in the development of the service or product (can’t just buy something off the shelf) or has significantly enhanced the product for added value

A full list of guidelines can be found online at the application/nomination page.

To find out more about past Cutting Edge winners the ALA has produced case studies which follow the latest technology trends and how libraries on the cutting edge are embracing technology. The case studies provide overviews of projects by other libraries which can be replicated by other libraries.

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