ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award (HISTORICAL)

About the ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award The ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award recognizes a library that demonstrates excellence in library programming by creating a cultural/thematic program type or program series, presented during the preceding year (September 1 - August 31), that engages the community in planning, sponsorship and/or active participation, addresses an identified community need, and has a measurable impact.

Administered by:

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Award and Frequency


The Award consists of $5,000 and a citation of achievement.
This award is not currently being given out.


In recognition that programming is an essential part of service delivery in all types of libraries, school, public, academic, and special libraries are all eligible.  The nominated program/series must have been for a public audience.

Application Instructions

The ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award recognizes a library that demonstrates excellence in library programming by creating a cultural/thematic program type or program series. A cultural/thematic program is one that features the humanities, sciences, arts, creative arts, community and civic engagement programs, as well as programs in conjunction with exhibitions, community-wide reading programs, or other community-wide programs.

Application for the ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award is in the form of a self-nomination submitted online to the Award Committee by a school, public, academic, or special library in the United States, on a cultural/thematic program series presented during the preceding year (September 1 – August 31).

Contact Information

Ms. Colleen Barbus (Staff Liaison, July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2025) -
Work Phone: (312) 280-3277
American Library Association
225 N Michigan Ave Ste 1300
Chicago, IL 60601-7616

Cheryl Malden (Staff Liaison, July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2024) -
Work Phone: (312) 280-3247
Fax: 312 944-3897
American Library Association
225 N Michigan Ave Ste 1300
Chicago, IL 60601-7616

Samantha Oakley (Staff Liaison, January 21, 2016, to January 1, 2050) -
Work Phone: (312) 280-5287
American Library Association
225 N Michigan Ave Ste 1300
Chicago, IL 60601-7616

Displaying active committee roster as of 07/12/2020. Last retrieved on 07/12/2020. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.

Selection Criteria

  • Clear statement of organization goals and objectives
  • Clear statement of the link between library objectives and community impact
  • Identifying the audience for the project and developing a program directed at that audience.
  • Documenting the need for the program, was the need well-defined
  • The quality of the design of the program.
  • The clearness of the action plan and calendar
  • Whether the needed resources were available (including staff) to make the program a success.
  • Whether the budget is adequate and reasonable for the program.
  • Whether appropriate evaluation methods are being used.
  • Additional areas that may be considered: the importance of the problem addressed; the seriousness of the proposal to the library's needs; whether the program improved delivery of services to user.



The winning library will be presented the award at the ALA Annual Conference.