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Photo courtesy of Steve Mace.

The City of University Park was rewarded Wednesday in Austin for its “collaborative improvements to the City’s public library,” Steve Mace said. 

The Texas Municipal League, an organization made up by more than 1,130 Texas cities, honored City representatives Mayor Dick Davis, City Manager Bob Livingston, Library Director Sharon Martin and the recently-installed Friends of the UP Public Library President Julie Nunez with a 2013 Municipal Excellence Award in Management Innovations.

Over the last few years, University Park has been instrumental in aiding the Friends with finding a permanent home for the library, which now sits in the Plaza at Preston Center. The City and the Friends have agreed to split the library’s $600,000-per-year operating costs, and UP officials were able to secure the space where the library is housed without burdening taxpayers. The Friends are also supported by corporate sponsorships, memberships and major gifts (You can read about the event the Friends threw for library donors last month here.)

Martin told the City: “This award spotlights the University Park Public Library for what we really are, which is a library of and for our community. We were established through community effort, and now our permanent home is in such a vibrant location. This honor results from the efforts of the people who founded our library and our City leaders who secured this great space.”

 

You can read the full press release below, by Steve Mace with the City of University Park:

The Texas Municipal League (TML) has presented the City of University Park with the 2013 Municipal Excellence Award in Management Innovations for cities of less than 25,000. The award recognizes University Park for its collaborative improvements to the City’s public library. The award was presented earlier today at TML’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Austin.

Efforts to create a state-of-the-art library were achieved through collaboration between the City, the Friends of the University Park Public Library, and representatives for the owners of The Plaza at Preston Center. After a local building owner donated space, in 2001, the Friends opened the University Park Book Bank. Seeking a permanent home for the library, in 2009 the City began talks with the owners of a five-story, mixed-use building planned for the Center. Using an innovative approach, the City was able to acquire ownership of a 17,500 square foot space in the new office building at no expense to taxpayers. In exchange for ownership of that space, the City granted the Center rights to the streets, sidewalks, and alleys within its boundaries. The City’s new library opened this past January with the capacity to house 60,000 books and includes a large children’s area, a separate space for teens, 16 public computers, and a large community meeting room.

On hand to accept the award were Mayor Dick Davis, City Manager Bob Livingston, Library Director Sharon Martin and Friends President Julie Nunez. Commenting on the honor, Martin said, “This award spotlights the University Park Public Library for what we really are, which is a library of and for our community. We were established through community effort, and now our permanent home is in such a vibrant location. This honor results from the efforts of the people who founded our library and our City leaders who secured this great space.”

Nunez said, “The Friends of the University Park Public Library are delighted by the award. This collaborative effort reflects the steadfast vision and dedication of the Friends and the innovation and commitment by City leaders. We are so proud of this incredible journey that has led to such a dynamic, community-centered resource. The Friends are committed to ongoing fundraising and working in tandem with the City to ensure the continued success of the library in meeting the needs of all our residents.”   

The Texas Municipal League is a voluntary association of more than 1,130 Texas cities. Its primary objective is to serve the needs and advocate the interests of Texas cities, and it is the largest organization of its kind in the United States. The City of University Park is a TML member.

Angela is an Aggie grad, thrilled to be working for BubbleLife covering the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Lake Highlands and several other neighborhoods in the area. When she's not writing and reporting for BubbleLife, she contributes to TexasMonthly.com, MediaBistro.com, drinks lots of coffee, reads, and goes to concerts in Dallas. Angela has worked for CBS alum and legendary newsman Dan Rather, lived and worked in New York City, Austin, and Dallas, all before the age of 22. - Contact Angela at  
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