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ULC's Latest Award-Winners

All of our Awards are presented at the ULC Annual conference. Congratulations to all our winners!

ULC/Highsmith Award of Excellence for 2008:

Boston Public Library (MA) HAP-Homework Assistance Program

BPL’s HAP matches elementary and middle school students with high school students for help with homework, providing meaningful opportunities for all participants.  The program runs after school and on Saturdays in the Central Library and each of the library’s 27 branches.  In 2008, the library predicts they will serve more than 700 kids in 11,900 mentoring sessions.  “The vision of HAP is to build a community in which high schoolers are empowered and recognized as leaders and community builders through their role as caring, reliable, and professional mentors to younger children,” said Ruth Kowal, BPL’s Deputy Director.  “In turn, these younger children now have a better chance at achieving their own victories.” 

Highsmith 2008 press release

ULC Urban Player Award for 2008:

Josephine Bryant, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library (ON)

Toronto Public Library (TPL) Director Josephine “Jo” Bryant will be awarded the 2008 Urban Libraries Council (ULC) Urban Player Award for her role in successfully integrating seven distinct library systems into one and then, using the integration as an opportunity for the library to play a more central role in the lives of Torontonians.  “Jo’s vision of amalgamation as an opportunity for TPL to play a more central and seminal role in the city has moved the Library into the mainstream of the city’s cultural life and economic promise,” said Kathy Gallagher Ross, Chair of the TPL Board. “She achieved this by working with the Board, reaching out to elected officials and the community, and by aligning the library with the city’s key objectives.”

Urban Player 2008 press release

Joey Rodger Fund for Library Leadership:

Norice Lee, Manager of the Dorris Van Doren Regional Branch of the El Paso Public Library (TX)

Ms. Lee will attend the Leadership Lab offered through the Executive Education Program of the Brookings Institution in Warrenton, Virginia. ULC’s Joey Rodger Grant program aims to seed the library industry with innovative public sector leadership training. “The buzz phrase we most typically hear in our business is the value of ‘library as place,’” said Ms. Lee.  “I believe that ‘the place of the library’ -- where we are positioned, our status, our ranking within the larger organization -- is what will help us get the resources we need to perform important work.  It takes strong leadership to strategically position the library to its best advantage.”

Joey Rodger Fund for Library Leadership press release

        Tips for Beginning Rock Bands
               Provided by Katalina and the Fransua Groove band

--to make sure it sounds good, simplify the song to the level you can play it well.

--make eye contact with other band members. Beware of winking and subtle flirting as this can break concentration.

--pay attention to having dynamics. Alternatively, keep playing as loud as you can, and if some one else gets louder, just turn up the amp to max volume.

--try not to sing off key-- use digital recorder to listen to & self critique. If you find some notes always seem to go sharp or flat, just move off of them as fast as you can.

--audiences remember most the first and last notes of a song--try & get those right even if there are train wrecks in the middle.

--strive to play "tight", that is, everyone precisely on the same beat. If the drummer and the bass player are each doing their own thing, go with the beat of the person who is least likely to criticize you.

--the bass should be very connected to the rhythm section --bass players should stay near the side of the drum set where the high hat is. If there is no high hat, stay to the side nearest the cowboy hat.

--realize that "covers" has nothing to do with books or food containers.

--it's OK to add original songs mixed with covers once you learn what covers are.

--know that when you say you are "doing a gig" you are way cooler than anyone in high school ever thought you could be.

--at practices, go over one song until it improves rather than rush thru whole repertoire. Plan ahead what songs will be the focus for the next practice. At a certain point, however, try & play five songs through without stopping to critique as this is ultimately what you'll want to do for an audience. Your first audience should probably be your dog or your pet turtle.

--add diversity within the song. It's more interesting if everyone does not play & sing all at the time. Stay away from unison singing as it is easy to hear discordance. The venue for unison singing is church.

-- practice harmonizing. Throw out a note idea during practice and it will either make you smile or make you cringe. If you cringe--guess what--you won't pick that note next time.

--sing & play w/ CDs & try & figure out the key. Practice scales. Realize that you very well could sing that song if you change the key & put it in your preferred vocal range. Realize that some songs that cover 3 octaves will never sound good unless sung by Barbara Streisand or a rapper.

--be respectful of the different learning styles of each band member. Some members are more intuitive, some are more analytical, and some need visuals with the auditory. Some are just having a bad day and some should be in someone else's band.

--practice & listen to the 1-4-5 progressions. They are common & easier to follow than you'd think. If you get mixed up, you may still sound OK since you have a 2 out of 3 chance of hitting either the root note or the 5th note, and these notes get along well together, unlike some band members on some days.

-add jams to songs & try improvisations during rehearsals -it is OK to experiment. Try not to use the words, "That Sucks"; Rather, try "That just doesn't work for me" or "We're getting there".

Please feel free to send in your suggestions so we might add to this valuable set of tips! Email us at

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