PLA 2010 award winners represent excellence in public libraries

Contact: Amy Sargent
PLA, Marketing Manager

For Immediate Release,
February 2, 2010

CHICAGO - The Public Library Association (PLA) has announced the winners of nine awards, honoring the best in public library service and innovation.

The Allie Beth Martin Award recognizes a public librarian for demonstrating a range and depth of knowledge about books and other library materials and the distinguished ability to share that knowledge. This year’s award of $3,000, donated by Baker & Taylor, will be presented to Rebecca Vnuk for her unwavering dedication to books of any cover.

The Baker & Taylor Entertainment Audio Music/Video Product Award Grant includes $2,500 in audio music and video products for the circulating collection of the selected recipient.  This year’s winner, Bailey Cove Branch Library in Huntsville, Ala., will use the award to update video materials and music CDs in its popular Parenting Center.

The Charlie Robinson Award, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, recognizes a public library director for the implementation of an innovative change. Patrick Losinski, executive director of the Columbus Metropolitan (Ohio) Library, is receiving the award for his risk-taking, innovation and leadership within the library profession.

The DEMCO New Leaders Travel Grant provides awards to public librarians new to the field by making possible their attendance at major professional development activities. This year’s grantees will each receive $1,500. They are: Emma Mejia, Librarian I, Fresno County (Calif.) Public Library (Mendota Branch) and Kathy Smith, Youth Services Librarian, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Public Library.

The EBSCO Excellence in Small and/or Rural Public Library Service Award honors a public library serving a population of 10,000 or fewer that demonstrates excellence in service to its community. The Gilpin County Public Library in Blackhawk, Colo., will receive this year’s $1,000 award honoring its innovative and creative “artist-in-residence” program.

The Gordon M. Conable Award, sponsored by Library Systems & Services LLC, is designed to honor a public library staff member, a library trustee or a public library that has demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights. The Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library will receive this year’s $1,500 award in acknowledgement of its groundbreaking Transgender Resource Collection.

The Highsmith Library Innovation Award honors a public library’s innovative or creative service program with a plaque and a $2,000 honorarium. This year’s recipient, the Calcasieu Parish (La.) Public Library, is recognized for its engaging and effective “A Library Champion Lives Here” yard sign campaign.

The Polaris Innovation in Technology John Iliff Award honors the life and accomplishments of John Iliff, early adopter and champion of technology in public libraries. This award provides a $1,000 honorarium, a plaque and a bouquet of roses for the workplace to a library worker, librarian or library that has used technology and innovative thinking as a tool to improve services to public library users. Ellen Schmid of the Geneva (Ill.) Public Library District is receiving the award for her development of an innovative and professional community outreach effort.

The new Romance Writers of America Library Grant is designed to provide a public library the opportunity to build or expand its romance fiction collection and/or host romance fiction programming. The grant consists of $4,500 to be used toward the purchase of books in print and/or audio format, author honorariums and travel expenses, and other applicable program expenses. This year’s recipient, Huntsville-Madison County (Ala.) Public Library, plans to use the funds to rebuild one fire-destroyed branch’s romance collection and to build romance programs and inventory throughout the system.

PLA and PLA President, Sari Feldman, along with the award sponsors, will recognize all of the award winners on Sunday, June 27, 2010 as a part of the PLA President’s Program featuring Will Shortz at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

For more information on PLA Awards, contact the PLA office at (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or visit PLA’s Web site at  PLA is a division of the American Library Association.  PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve, and its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.