Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award

Thank you for your patience during the pause of ACRL's Awards program. The ACRL Awards task force recently submitted its final report and recommendations to the Board. Effective January 2024, the ACRL's Awards program has been officially reinstated and committees can now proceed with their work for 2024-2025.

This award honors the life and accomplishments  of Hugh C. Atkinson by soliciting nominations and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of an academic librarian or group of librarians who has or have worked in the areas of library automation or library management and has made contributions (including risk taking) toward the improvement of library services or to library development or research.


Cash award and a plaque. This award is funded by an endowment created by divisional, individual, and vendor contributions given in memory of Hugh C. Atkinson. The award is jointly sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures.


The nominee must be a librarian or group of librarians employed in one of the following during the year prior to application for this award:

  • University, college, or community college library
  • Non-profit consortium, or a consortium comprised of non-profits that provides resources/services/support to academic libraries

The nominee must have a minimum of five years of professional experience in an academic library or in a non-profit consortium or a consortium comprised of non-profits. The nominee must be a member of ALA and at least one of the award's sponsoring divisions (ACRL and Core) at the time of submission.

Applications are kept in the award pool for two years. Applications may be updated each year, as long as they are received by the award deadline.


The nominee must have demonstrated achievement (including risk-taking) that has contributed significantly to improvements in the areas of library automation, library management, and/or library development or research. Additionally, the nominee must have demonstrated how their work has impacted the profession.

For group nominations, all nominees must meet the eligibility and criteria requirements.

Submission Procedures

Submissions are not currently being accepted.

Electronic submissions through the online nomination form are required. The nomination form must be completed in its entirety. Nominations must be received by the award deadline to receive consideration. Individuals may nominate themselves or others. Nominators are encouraged to solicit additional letters that would help the committee understand the full scope of the nominee’s contributions.

Supporting documents to accompany the nomination form include:

  • a letter from you supporting the nomination
  • a current vita for the person being nominated
  • as many letters as you wish from other librarians supporting the nomination
  • a high resolution photo of the nominee (at least 300 dpi), which will be used to make the official announcement immediately after the ALA Midwinter Meeting

All letters of support should be compiled by the nominator and uploaded through the nomination form as a single PDF (max size 20MB).

Information and Assistance

If you have questions, please contact the Chair of the Atkinson Award Committee, Angela M. Gooden, or staff liaison Brian Lim,

This award is administered by the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award Committee.

2021 Recipient

Photo of Mark E. Phillips
Mark E. Phillips, Associate Dean for Digital Libraries, University of North Texas

Press Release

Previous Recipients

  • 2020 – Beth Denker, George Machovec, and Rose Nelson, Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries | Press Release
  • 2019 – John Price Wilkin | Press Release
  • 2018 – Larry P. Alford | Press Release
  • 2017 – Mark Sandler | Press Release
  • 2016 – James L. Mullins | Press Release
  • 2015 – Brian Schottlaender | Press Release
  • 2014 – Anne R. Kenney | Press Release
  • 2013 – Lisabeth A. Wilson | Press Release
  • 2012 – John F. Helmer | Press Release
  • 2011 – Carol A. Mandel | Press Release
  • 2010 – Paula T. Kaufman | Press Release
  • 2009 – Ray English | Press Release
  • 2008 – No recipient
  • 2007 – James G. Neal
  • 2006 – Nancy M. Cline
  • 2005 – Paul M. Gherman
  • 2004 – Jerome Yavarkovsky
  • 2003 – Wendy Pradt Lougee
  • 2002 – Harold W. Billings
  • 2001 – Larry Frye
  • 2000 – Kenneth Frazier
  • 1999 – Susan K. Nutter
  • 1998 – Arnold Hirshon
  • 1997 – William Gray Potter
  • 1996 – Thomas W. Shaughnessy
  • 1995 – Nancy L. Eaton
  • 1994 – Dorothy Gregor
  • 1993 – Richard De Gennaro
  • 1992 – Miriam Drake
  • 1991 – Donald E. Riggs
  • 1990 – Russell Shank
  • 1989 – Thomas Michalak
  • 1988 – Richard M. Dougherty