Lake Oswego Reads earns US Conference of Mayors City Livability award

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. - Lake Oswego Reads, a program of the City of Lake Oswego Public Library, received a 2012 City Livability Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The award, from the Conference of Mayors City Livability Program, honors mayors and their city governments for developing programs that enhance the quality of life in urban areas.

"I am thrilled that our community and our Library have received this prestigious national recognition for the Lake Oswego Reads Program," said Library Director Bill Baars. "I am continually astounded that this seed of an idea has blossomed into this incredible garden of activity."

The winning mayors and their cities were announced at the recently held Annual Conference of Mayors in Orlando Florida. Lake Oswego Mayor Jake Hoffman, who accepted the award, said, "This award is a testament to the dedication and passion of city employees to improve the quality of life for our residents and the quality of the Lake Oswego community. It is a significant award and recognition of the efforts of or Library staff and the champions of Lake Oswego Reads."

Baars said every participant, reader, city partner and community sponsor deserve credit for making this possible and creating an environment where a program - and community -- like this can succeed.

Established in 1979, the City Livability Awards are given annually to ten mayors and their cities--a first-place award and four Outstanding Achievement Awards for cities under 100,000 population, and a first-place and four Outstanding Achievement Awards for cities of 100,000 or more inhabitants. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges. For cities under 100,000 population, the top award winner was West Palm Beach(FL) and the other Outstanding Achievement winners were West Hollywood (CA), Napa (CA), Schaumburg (IL), and Sumter (SC).

Lake Oswego Reads began in 2007 and has expanded each year since. It is a month-long community reading program aimed to strengthen civic pride, foster discussion, and bring the community together through the common bond of reading the same book each year. It begins each year when a steering committee of community leaders and library staff select the featured book based on criteria such as wide appeal to readers 14 and older, ability to interest reluctant readers and avid book club members, ease of connection to interesting events, and availability in a variety of formats. 800 copies are given away to the residents of Lake Oswego in January, and throughout the month of February, events are offered daily. They include an author presentation as well as cultural, educational, and entertaining activities. Sponsored by West Coast Bank, Friends of the Library, and a variety of local sponsors, Lake Oswego Reads has received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from all quarters and become an integral part of Lake Oswego culture.

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