CLS Innovation in College Librarianship Award

ACRL's Awards program will be on hold for the 2021-2022 award season, during which time nominations will not be accepted or juried and no recipients will be chosen for any ACRL awards. For more information, please contact Lauren Carlton.

Note: this award is on hold for 2021.

The award is administered by the College Libraries Section of ACRL and is presented at the CLS Friday Night Feast at the ALA Annual Conference. Administration of the award is conducted by the Leadership Committee and strives to offer a monetary award from a sponsor identified by CLS.

The purpose of the CLS Innovation Award is to recognize college librarians and staff who demonstrate successful introduction of innovation in their library through a new idea, method, project, or device that enhances student learning and/or faculty development and overall works to promote the library as integral to the achievement of the college's mission.


$1,000 award and plaque, sponsored by SCELC.


As nominee(s), the librarian(s) must have demonstrated a capacity for innovation in working with or serving undergraduates or instructors in the areas of programs, services, and operations; or creating innovations for library colleagues that facilitate their ability to better serve the library’s community.


At least one of the nominees must be an ALA member to be eligible for this award.
Nominees must be in an academic library setting at institutions fitting the Carnegie classifications of Baccalaureate or Masters Colleges and Universities. Canadian academic libraries are eligible if at least one nominee is an ALA member and if the nominee(s) can demonstrate their institution's status is comparable to the Carnegie classification of Baccalaureate or Masters Colleges and Universities.


Submissions are not currently being accepted.

Electronic submissions through the online nomination form are required. Nominations should include the following:

  1. Letter of nomination (including self-nomination) (no more than 1,000 words)
  2. Letter of recommendation, if self-nominating. Otherwise, the letter of nomination will serve as the letter of recommendation.
  3. Written description (maximum 1,000 words) of a new idea, method, project or device that enhances student learning and/or faculty development and works to promote the library as integral to the achievement of the college’s mission.
  4. Describe (maximum 500 words) the impact that it has had (or is anticipated to have) on the library and how it supports the college’s mission.
  5. Describe (maximum 500 words) what other librarians can learn from the experience and how it could be replicated in other libraries.
  6. Include evidence of work or a link to the project (i.e. what does the project look like?). This could be a syllabus, slide presentation, photos of event, a LibGuide on the project, etc.

The selected recipient will provide a statement describing the impact that the project has had on their library. This statement will be used in the announcement for the following year's award call for nominations.

Information and Assistance

Questions should be directed to award committee chair William Martin Modrow,

View the full award committee roster here.

2020 Recipients

Photo of Alexandria Chisholm, Sarah Hartman-Caverly, and Brett Spencer
Brett Spencer, Sarah Hartman-Caverly, and Alexandria Chisholm, all reference and instruction librarians at Penn State University, Berks Campus

Previous Recipients

  • 2019 - Bill Jones and Ben Rawlins, both of the State University of New York (SUNY)-Geneseo Milne Library
  • 2018 - Teresa D. Williams, Business Librarian at Butler University
  • 2017 - Jennifer Hunter and Christina Riehman-Murphy, both of Penn State-Abington
  • 2016 - Barbara Merolli, College of the Holy Cross
  • 2015 - Melinda Beland, Angie Cox, Melissa Gevaert, Anna Hollingsworth and Linda McLaury, all of the University of Northern Iowa’s Rod Library
  • 2014 - Tish Hayes, Terra B. Jacobson and Troy A. Swanson, all of the Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) Library
  • 2013 - Erin T. Smith and Jamie P. Kohler, both of the Westminster College McGill Library
  • 2012 - Anne Burke, Adrienne Lai, and Adam Rogers, all of North Carolina State University Libraries
  • 2011 - Catherine Haras and Teresa Portilla Omidsalar, both of California State University at Los Angeles
  • 2010 - Sigrid Kelsey and Angela K. VandenBroek, both of Louisiana State University
  • 2009 - Bruce Connolly and Gail Golderman, both of Union College