For immediate release | February 5, 2024

Lemony Snicket Award Nominations 2024 deadline extended

Sarah Nalepa

Governance Program Coordinator



CHICAGO — Librarians face adversity every day, whether they are defending a challenged book like Maus, responding to collection and building damage after hurricanes and fires, remaining open as a safe space during civil unrest, or fighting to provide services on a limited budget.

If you know a librarian who has gone above and beyond the normal requirements of librarianship to stand up in the face of adversity with dignity and honor, please consider giving that person some much needed recognition by nominating them for the 2024 Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity.

ALA is currently extending nominations through March 1, 2024 for this award. The prize consists of $10,000 along with an odd, symbolic object from Snicket’s private stash, and a certificate. The nominee must be a librarian.

Past winners include:

2023: Denise Neujahr, Teen Youth Services Specialist for the Community Library Network in northern Idaho who spent her career providing a supportive environment for young implementing the Ranbow Squad Program.

2022: Martha Hickson, media specialist at North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, New Jersey who persisted and persevered in her unwavering defense of her students’ right to intellectual freedom and right to read

2021: Janet Eldred, director of Hollidaysburg Area Public Library in Hollidaysburg, PA, who has performed and excelled at her job and in her community despite a 2012 diagnosis of early-stage dementia and the increasingly impaired cognitive function and neurological complications that resulted.

2020: Heather Ogilvie, outreach librarian with Bay County Public Library in Panama City, Florida, who provided extraordinary community assistance in the devastation of Hurricane Michael.

2018: Diana Haneski, library media specialist at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and Yvonne Cech, library director of the Brookfield Library in Brookfield, Connecticut (2018). Haneski shielded 50 high school students and four adults from harm in a large, equipment room. She remembered her friend Cech’s quick thinking and advice, and she acted accordingly. Cech, a library media specialist at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, herded the students to a storage closet locked the door and barricaded it with book trucks and other available objects until the SWAT team arrived.

2017: Steven Woolfolk, director of programming and marketing at the Kansas City Public Library. When Woolfolk intervened during a controversy and protested the police action in defense of Rothe-Kushel’s basic First Amendment rights, he was taken into custody by police and charged with interfering with an arrest, suffering a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee from being kneed in the leg by an officer.

2016: Melanie Townsend Diggs (2016), Pennsylvania Avenue branch manager of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library. She helped keep patrons safe in the civil unrest and protests following the shooting of Freddie Gray.

2015: Scott Bonner, director of the Ferguson Public Library in Missouri. Bonner kept the branch open and engaged in the midst of the Ferguson riots.

2014: Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian, who opened the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in her home and converted her bicycle to a mobile book carrier to reach children and families in weather-damaged areas of New Orleans.

Lemony Snicket, in establishing this award, hopes that “the Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them.”

To find out more information about the award, including how to nominate candidates, visit


Sarah Nalepa

Governance Program Coordinator

American Library Association