PLA award winners represent excellence in public libraries

For Immediate Release
Fri, 02/08/2013


Amy Sargent

Manager, Marketing

Public Library Association (PLA)

1-800-545-2433 ext.5024

CHICAGO - The Public Library Association (PLA) has announced 11 2013 award winners honoring the best in public library service, innovation and outreach.

The Allie Beth Martin Award, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, recognizes a public librarian for demonstrating a range and depth of knowledge about books and other library materials and for having the distinguished ability to share that knowledge. This year’s award of $3,000 will be presented to Bill Kelly, branch manager, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library, for his creative and effective efforts to deliver personalized readers’ advisory through a unique blend of customer service and technology.

The Baker & Taylor Entertainment Audio Music/Video Product Award includes $2,500 in audio music and video products for the circulating collection of the selected recipient. This year’s winner, Ada (Ohio) Public Library, currently has no CD collection, so intends to use the award to start a diverse collection that would benefit all its users, with special attention paid to attracting young adult visitors.

The Charlie Robinson Award,sponsored by Baker & Taylor, honors a public library director who, over a period of seven years, has been a risk taker, an innovator and/or a change agent in a public library. This year’s award of $1,000 is presented to Sari Feldman, executive director, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library, for her tremendous contributions to the advancement of public library service based on community impact, innovation and collaboration.

The Demco New Leaders Travel Grant provides funds to new public librarians to enable their attendance at major professional development events. This year’s grantee, Natalie Bazan, library director, Hopkins District (Mich.) Public Library, will receive a $1,500 grant to attend a PLA continuing education event. She hopes to focus on programming showcasing funding strategies and the effective use of technology to share library resources.

The EBSCO Excellence in Small and/or Rural Public Library Service Award honors a public library that demonstrates excellence in service to a community of 10,000 people or fewer. This year’s $1,000 award recognizes the Cross Plains (Texas) Public Library for its outstanding efforts to offer rich programming and services for its users through resourceful collaboration and creativity.

The Gordon M. Conable Award, sponsored by LSSI, honors 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. A $1,500 award and commemorative plaque will be presented to Christine A. Kujawa, Central Dakota Library Network system librarian and head of circulation services, Bismarck (N.D.) Veterans Memorial Public Library, to honor her unstinting work in leading intellectual freedom education and advocacy on local, state and national levels.

The Upstart Innovation Award, sponsored by Upstart, a Demco company, honors a public library’s innovative or creative service program with a $2,000 honorarium. This year’s winner is Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library for their “Bus to Us” field-trip program, which brings hundreds of elementary school children to the library for engaging, curriculum-guided visits. The program not only provides significant educational opportunity, but also improves awareness of the library and its services.

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 to a library professional or library that has used technology and innovation as a tool to improve services to public library users. The award recognizes Teresa Kiser, director, Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County (Ala.), for her steadfast commitment to funding and completing the digitization and preservation of a nationally renowned collection of 30,000 images capturing the Anniston community in its development.

The Romance Writers of America Library Grant is designed to provide a public library the opportunity to build or expand its romance fiction collection and/or host romance fiction programming. This year’s $4,500 grant is awarded to the Hazel W. Guilford Memorial Library in Aurora, N.C.The library will use the funds to rebuild their romance collection, which was greatly impacted by flooding from Hurricane Irene and is one of the most circulated genres at the library.

PLA also offers two awards for feature articles contributed to its bimonthly journal, Public Libraries. This year’s first place winner ($500 prize) is Jamie LaRue, director, Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries. His article, “Last One Standing,” which appeared in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Public Libraries, explores opportunities available to public libraries related to the rise of e-books and self-publishing.Herb Landau, executive director, and Heather Sharpe, community relations manager, both of the Lancaster (Pa.) Public Library, received an honorable mention and a $300 prize for ”The Library Lover’s Art Auction” from the Sept/Oct 2012 issue, which provides a close look at the library’s first art auction, from inception to the live event.

PLA President Eva D. Poole, along with the award sponsors and PLA members will recognize all of the award winners as part of the PLA President’s Program and Awards Presentation, 1 - 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

PLA award winners are chosen by the PLA Award juries and the Public Libraries Advisory Subcommittee. For more information on PLA Awards and to volunteer for jury or committee appointments, visit www.pla.orgor contact the PLA office at (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA.

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.