Upstart Innovation Award

To submit an application for this award, please visit the PLA Awards Online Application.

Purpose and Criteria

The Upstart Innovation Award, sponsored by Upstart, a Demco company, (formerly the Highsmith Library Innovation Award) recognizes a public library's innovative and creative service program to the community. Any innovative, cutting-edge program, activity or service will be considered. Has your library developed a dynamic solution to a problem? Have you been able to reach a special population through a unique program? Has your special marketing campaign brought dramatic, measurable results? If so, you're eligible to apply. The winner of this award will receive a check in the amount of $2,000 and a plaque.

2014 Recipient

Terrebonne Parish (La.) Library

Past Recipients

  • 2013 Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library
  • 2012 San Diego County (Calif.) Public Library
  • 2011 Noble County (Ind.) Public Library
  • 2010 Calcasieu Parish (La.) Public Library
  • 2009 Princeton (N.J.) Public Library
  • 2008 Lake Agassiz Regional Library, Moorhead, Minn.
  • 2007 Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) Library
  • 2006 Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, Maine
  • 2005 Richmond (BC) Public Library
  • 2004 Maricopa County (Ariz.) Library District
  • 2003 Plattesville (Colo.) Public Library
  • 2002 Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) Library
  • 2001 Bartlesville (Okla.) Public Library
  • 2000 Clearwater County (Idaho) Free Library
  • 1999 Richmond (BC) Public Library
  • 1998 Medina County Library District
  • 1997 Queens Borough (N.Y.) Public Library

Eligibility

Public libraries of any size are eligible for this award, with one exception: Public libraries having employees on the current Upstart Innovation Award Jury are ineligible to receive the Upstart Innovation Award. You must agree to allow PLA to publicize your program if it is selected as the winner.

Selection Criteria

Candidates must submit the attached application form, describing the public library's innovative achievement in creative programs for the library community, intended to increase the use of or improve awareness of public libraries.

Programs should be unique and cutting-edge and must have had measurable impact on the library's clientele. Proposals will be judged on the following:

  • Collaborative efforts of the staff and community in the planning and implementation process.
  • Measurements of success in the community based on usage, program attendance, or greater community awareness.
  • Sustainability of the program over time.
  • Program can be replicated by other public libraries.
  • Quality and appropriateness of submitted materials (supporting documents may be included).

How to Apply

To submit an application for this award, please visit the PLA Awards Online Application.

PLA will forward the applications to the current chair of the Upstart Innovation Award Jury. PLA reserves the right to extend the application deadline.