Sterling Library among Final Four in online best library contest

Sterling Municipal Library staff members remind fans to vote online in the best library contest. Sterling is in the Final Four in the nation. From left are Loretta Wysocki, Rita Ibarra, Chazley Dotson, Jo Hinkle, Celia Martinez, Brandy Ball, Cherie Morgan and Erline Maingot. To cast your vote for Baytown, visit (Photo By Lisa Coker)

Baytown’s Sterling Municipal Library has once again advanced to the next round of the Engaging Local Government Leaders competition to find the nation’s best public library. Now only four libraries remain. 

Sterling Library is in the running for the Leslie B. Knope Award for best library in the country. The award, named after Amy Poehler’s character on the NBC show “Parks and Recreation,” is given by the Engaging Local Government Leaders, which is a group committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in local government. 

In the last round of elite eight, Baytown scored the largest victory of anyone in the round with 1,377 votes for Sterling Library versus 213 votes for the C. Bur Artz Public Library in Fredrick, Maryland. 

“We always knew we had a good chance of advancing through the rounds,” said Baytown Librarian Jamie Eustace. “The community has always been very supportive of our library and we have been touched by all the feedback and comments we have received.”

But in the round of four, Baytown will be facing Williamsburg Regional Library, who received 3,542 votes in the last round. 

If Baytown is to defeat the juggernaut that is Williamsburg, Baytonians need to vote for Sterling Library at

Sterling Library will also receive an extra vote if voters include why they love their library. But Eustace says they have a secret weapon that they will reveal later this week.    

“We have a top secret fan who is a cast member of ‘Parks and Recreation,’” said Eustace. “(And) we will be releasing his endorsement later this week as the competition heats up.” 

Aside from a celebrity endorsement, Sterling Library deserves to be named the best public library in the nation because it’s much more than just a place read; it’s a place to learn in a plethora of ways. 

“We think we’ve got the best Library in the Nation – want to know why?” asked Assistant City Manager Kevin Troller. “Come walk in the doors of Sterling Municipal Library. From the history of Baytown you see in the front lobby to the creativity on display with the Story Bar, Reading Nook, 3D printer, Think Tank; to the various programs for children tweens, teens, and adults; there is something to amaze and engage the creativity of everyone. 

In addition to great programs, Troller says Baytown has some of the best librarians in the country. 

“Jamie and our library staff exist to surprise and delight our patrons, and to give you an experience that goes far beyond just books,” said Troller. “There’s a reason our library has advanced through the voting rounds as they have so far – Yes, Sterling Municipal Library is that good; and is truly deserving of the recognition of best library in the nation.” 

To cast your vote for Baytown, visit

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