Cody Library, WY, and Marathon Public Library, TX: Best Small Library in America 2023 Honorable Mentions

Cody Library, WY, and Marathon Public Library, TX received honorable mentions for LJ and Ingram's Best Small Library in America 2023 award. 



The area served by Wyoming’s Cody Library, the main location of the Park County Library System, is remote—closer to Yellowstone National Park than to any urban center—and its community of just over 10,000 has limited access to quality internet, meeting spaces, and health and business resources. To help fill those gaps, Cody Library prioritizes its community’s wellness through a wide range of tools and collaborations. These include the library’s Health Resource Center, with a collection curated in partnership with the Cody Medical Foundation, and an Outreach Garden, which provides hands-on education and nature literacy. Well-used meeting rooms, a café that employs special needs adults, wellness and nature backpacks to check out, and a seed library, among many offerings, allow Cody Library’s staff of 10 to deliver a wealth of support and services—and eliminating late fees and expanding open hours removes traditional barriers to service.—Lisa Peet




When Marathon Public Library, the smallest accredited library in Texas, adopted a new strategic plan and launched its $2 million Heart of Marathon capital campaign in 2021, it spurred changes and improvements across programs and services for its population of just under 1,400—and library use grew dramatically as well, with annual visits increasing from 841 to 13,623 over the past decade. With a special focus on K–12 students, the library works in close partnership with the Marathon Independent School District to improve learning outcomes, ensuring that all students have equal access to technology and opportunities to support academic, employment, and life success. In addition to literacy and STREAM (science, technology, reading and writing, engineering, the arts, and math) programming, Marathon Public Library provides all students and teachers with school supplies, and this summer launched “Camp Curiosity,” a free, week-long STEM-focused learning camp. Adults find support at the library as well, with tech connect classes, telehealth help, and speakers on subjects from archeology to wildlife management.—Lisa Peet

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Lisa Peet

Lisa Peet is Executive Editor for Library Journal.

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