The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City librarian wins state award for children’s services contributions

Angela Pilkington was recognized by the Iowa Library Association for her leadership and achievements at the Iowa City Public Library.
Ava Neumaier
Librarian Angela Pilkington reads and dances with babies and toddlers at a “Book Babies” interactive reading activity on Tuesday, Oct 24, 2023. The event is every Tuesday in the Public Library’s Storytime Room. Angela Pilkington is a librarian at the Iowa City Public Library who recently won the 2023 Quality Time Award from the Iowa Library Association.

Angela Pilkington had an irrational fear of libraries for most of her youth, so much so that she asked her mother to pick out the books she needed for her college classes and drive hours to deliver them to her.

Later in her college years, however, her mom convinced her to apply for a librarian position in Burlington, Iowa, where Pilkington fell in love with the job and worked for 13 years.

She then applied for a similar role at the Iowa City Public Library, eventually becoming the library’s children’s services coordinator.

“I want to make sure that kids have a different experience than what I did,” Pilkington said.

Pilkington has worked at the Iowa City Public Library for eight years and was recently awarded the 2023 Quality Time Award by the Iowa Library Association for her leadership and contributions to the youth programs at her library.

In her time at the Iowa City library, Pilkington has been a driving factor in starting up new programs, including the Student Access to Information and Material, or AIM, library cards, which started in 2019.

The program created a library card for all Iowa City Community School District students that can be used to check out books at the public libraries in Iowa City, North Liberty, and Coralville. As long as a student goes to school in the district, they are eligible for a card.

Students are able to return their books to the public library they got them from or even to their own school libraries. There are also no late fees or fines for students if they misplace a book, to remove barriers to accessing materials, said Pilkington.

Pilkington said she has spoken at several state and national conferences to educate other public libraries about how to create their own version of the AIM card program.

This program was especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic because it could be used to check out digital versions of books for both students and teachers who needed classroom materials, Pilkington said.

Part of Pilkington’s job as children’s services coordinator is to organize and oversee the various outreach programs her department does. Last year, her department carried out 701 programs both inside and out of the Iowa City library, Pilkington said.

Aside from her accomplishments at the Iowa City Public Library, Pilkington’s positive demeanor and love for her job made her a candidate for this year’s Quality Time Award.

Elsworth Carman, the director of the Iowa City Public Library, said Pilkington has a great personality as well as a wide array of skills and knowledge to ensure the library’s children’s program continues to do great work.

“She’s like a quintessential children’s person,” Carman said. “She’s bubbly and friendly and really fun but also has this backbone of incredible knowledge and skill. It’s the perfect combination.”

Pilkington said she credits her colleagues with helping her carry out the many endeavors children’s services tackle.

Pilkington also worked to break down barriers to accessing the library for children. Carman said she was instrumental in developing a bilingual position for children’s services so programs can be done in both English and Spanish.

Not only has Pilkington already established a lasting impact on the Iowa City Public Library, but she also has had a positive influence on her colleagues. Sam Helmick, the Iowa City Public Library’s community and access services coordinator, nominated Pilkington for the Quality Time Award because of her impact.

“Her mark has been made on this community and this profession in a way that has uplifted her team and not spread us too thin,” Helmick said. “It’s a very difficult note to find and [Pilkington] continues to sing in that key, and it blows me away that she has that ability to do it because I know there’s hard work, but she makes it look easy.”

Pilkington said she is immensely grateful for her colleagues, staff, and most of all, the community that has supported her through everything.

“I love just being there and out in the public,” Pilkington said. “I love interacting with kids every single day. They bring such joy.”

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About the Contributors
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.
Ava Neumaier
Ava Neumaier, Photojournalist
Ava Neumaier is a first-year student at the University of Iowa, majoring in English & Creative Writing. She was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school yearbook in New York, and has interned for a New York Times photographer. She enjoys taking pictures of performances and student life.