Kelvin Watson Wins ALA Medal of Excellence Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 04/24/2023


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer


American Library Association


CHICAGO — Kelvin Watson, Executive Director, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District has been awarded the ALA Medal of Excellence Award.  This annual award, presented by the American Library Association (ALA) and sponsored by OCLC recognizes creative leadership of high order, particularly in the fields of library management, library training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.

The jury for the 2023 Medal of Excellence award is delighted to honor Kelvin Watson for his many accomplishments during a long, pioneering, and accomplished career as a leader in public library management.  Among the achievements specifically noted by the Medal of Excellence jury and the many colleagues and admirers who wrote in support of this award are Kelvin Watson’s outstanding service to his communities and the profession through his development of partnerships at many levels. 

Kelvin Watson was accurately described by various nominators as “visionary,” “engaged and connected,” “a true champion in our community and in each life that his work touches;” and as “someone who has the unique ability to guide a group of individuals toward achieving a common goal.”  The jury was especially impressed by the number of commendations received from colleagues outside the library community. One partner noted that “Kelvin demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the community…and has made a tremendous impact in the lives of some of our most underserved populations.”  Another wrote that “Kelvin is engaged, accessible, and supportive” as he “drives the advancement of library innovation.”  This commitment to serving all people in ways that meet their unique needs and circumstances demonstrates in an exemplary way the “achievement for recent creative leadership of high order” that the Medal of Excellence is designed to honor. 

The 2023 Medal of Excellence will be presented at the ALA President’s Program, Sunday, June 25, during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

In addition to chair Winston Tabb, Sheridan dean of University Libraries & Museum, John Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries, Baltimore, Maryland; the members of the 2023 ALA Medal of Excellence are: Julianne Bedel, director of Medina County District Library, Medina, Ohio; Emily A. Bergman, campus librarian, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, California; Ashley Mensah, librarian, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and Susan R. Earl, director of The John P. Holt Brentwood Library, Nashville, TN.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2023 ALA Medal of Excellence Award is February 1, 2024.

Guidelines and forms are available on the ALA website.