PLA 2009 award winners represent excellence in public libraries

Contact: Louisa Worthington

PLA, Marketing Manager



For Immediate Release

February 17, 2009

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

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, Project Read, is the adult literacy program of the San Francisco Public Library. Project Read helps English-speaking adults improve their basic reading and writing skills so they may access greater opportunities in their lives.

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, will be presented to Barbara Clubb, city librarian at the Ottawa Public Library in Ottawa, Canada.

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, Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine, will use the award to purchase a selection of foreign films and will highlight this collection through the presentation of a public film festival series throughout winter at the Library

Charlie Robinson Award, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, recognizes a public library director for the implementation of an innovative change. This year’s recipient is Donna Nicely, director of Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library for her ability to strengthen the library’s ties with local government and community organizations.

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: Carolyn Sears, Chesterfield County (Va.) Public Library; Leslie Partridge, Lee County (Ga.) Library; Craig L. Scott, Gadsden (Ala.) Public Library; Odette Batis, Richmond (Calif.) Public Library; and Sarah Hammershaimb, West Chicago (Ill.) Public Library.

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 John C. Fremont Library District in Florance, Colo., will receive this year’s $1,000 award, donated by EBSCO Information Services.

Gordon M. Conable Award is designed to honor a public library staff member, a library trustee or a public library that has demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights and consists of a $1,500 honorarium. The Scottsdale (Ariz.) Public Library will receive this year’s award.

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 Princeton (N.J.) Public Library.

Polis 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 Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Ill.

PLA, along with the award sponsors, will recognize all of the award winners on Monday, July 13, as a part of the PLA President’s Program featuring Cokie Roberts at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

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.