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Library wins Star Award for third year in a row

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Dickinson Public Library Assistant Director Renee Newton, left, accepts the Star Award from North Dakota State Library at the state library's summer summit in August. It is the third year the local library has received the honor. (Submitted Photo)

Dickinson Public Library has received the North Dakota Star Library Award for the third year in a row.

The award, from the North Dakota State Library, was presented to the library on Aug. 8 at the state library's Summer Summit Workshop.

"It's pretty awesome," Library Director Rita Ennen said. "We, and Bismarck, I think are the two that have had it all of the last three years."

The Star Award is given to libraries that rank in the top three of their category in quality of service.

Dickinson Public Library is a Tier-5 library, a category that includes Bismarck, Fargo and Minot.

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"To know that we can compare well and be serving our community as well or better than some of those other larger communities, it feels good," Ennen said.

The award is given based on the library's circulation, number of visitors, programs and number of people who attend them, and number of people using the library's computers.

The state library made the determination based on Dickinson library's 2018 annual report.

The library's participation numbers are increasing in some areas while remaining strong in others, Ennen said.

"We've just finished up summer reading for 2019, and participation is up, even from 2018," she said. "I keep thinking we have to have topped off at some point."

It's not just growing numbers of children and teens participating in library programs.

"The really exciting things is how much participation is up with adults, which is not always who you think is going to be engaging with us in a reading program," Ennen said.

Ennen attributes the library's success, in part, to support and funding from City of Dickinson, Stark County, and surrounding counties, among others.

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"We've had good budget support from all of our funders, and there are a number of them," she said. "They've also supported in the last couple of years us adding a couple of new staff members, which helps for programs in particular."

The community, too, plays an important role in the library's success, Ennen said.

"When people are exciting about what you're doing and respond well and ask for more, it helps us keep up our energy and enthusiasm," she said.

Dickinson Public Library is in the middle of planning an expansion of its facility.

Preliminary designs have been approved that would expand the current building along West Second Avenue, to the corner of West Second Street.

The designs increase space for collection areas, youth programs, library departments and include space for community events.

The construction project is progressing well, Ennen said.

"We are looking at doing a fundraising kickoff sometime this fall," she said. "Our Foundation meeting will be in September and we'll firm up some plans after that."

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Ennen is reluctant to give a date for a possible start of construction, saying that it will be done as soon as it is possible.

"In the end, it really is dependent on when the funds come together," she said. "We're going to work hard, and we're going to get there as quickly as we can."

She added, "I am confident that we will be able to get those funds together, and it won't take too long."

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