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Contact: Louisa Worthington
PLA, Marketing Manager
(312) 280-5024

For Immediate Release,
February 11, 2008

PLA 2008 award winners represent excellence in public libraries

CHICAGO - The Public Library Association (PLA) is pleased to announce the winners of eight awards, honoring the best in public library service and innovation.

The Advancement of Literacy Award, sponsored by Library Journal, recognizes a publisher, bookseller, software dealer, foundation or similar group that has made a significant contribution toward the advancement of adult literacy. This year's winner is Mid South Reads, a partnership between the University of Memphis and other literacy advocates that provides literacy services and resources to the Memphis community.

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, goes to Janice Benedict, adult services librarian at Loveland (Colo.) Public Library.

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, the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library, will use the award to enhance its collection of jazz music and films. The collection will celebrate the community's rich heritage and support of jazz.

The Charlie Robinson Award, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, recognizes a public library director for the implementation of an innovative change. This year's recipient is Sharon R. Quay, director of Rampart (Colo.) Library District.

The DEMCO New Leaders Travel Grant provides a total of $5,000 in awards to public librarians new to the field by making possible their attendance at major professional development activities. This year's grantees are: Daisy Porter, San Jose (Calif.) Public Library; Tracy Hokaj, Tempe (Ariz.) Public Library; Jennifer Tchida, Bartholomew County (Ind.) Public Library; and Libby Feil, St. Joseph County (Ind.) 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 Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, will receive this year's $1,000 award, donated by EBSCO Information Services.

The Highsmith Library Innovation Award honors a public library's innovative or creative service program with a plaque and a $2,000 honorarium from the award's sponsor, Highsmith, Inc. This year's recipient is the Lake Agassiz Regional Library in Moorhead, Minn.

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. This year's recipient is Durham County (N.C.) Library.

PLA, along with the award sponsors, will recognize all of the award winners on Monday, June 30, as a part of the PLA President's Program featuring Jamie Lee Curtis at the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

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.


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