HS History Research and Innovation Award

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The History Research and Innovation Award will be on hiatus for the 2023-2024 cycle while the committee reevaluates and seeks funding

The ALA RUSA History Section is proud to offer the History Research and Innovation Award. The award will be granted to an individual librarian or library staff member in order to facilitate and further research relating to history and history librarianship. An emphasis in an area reflected by the focus of at least one of the History Section’s committees is required: Genealogy, Local History, Academic History Librarianship, and Historical Materials.

The award winner will receive a citation and $2500* which may be used at the winner’s discretion. Examples: to offset travel expenses to consult distant materials, to pay photocopying/scanning charges, to obtain use/licensing permissions, to offset publication costs, to buy equipment needed for the project, to pay for a research database subscription, to purchase research-related office supplies, or other research-related expenditures. The individual applicant and their institution shall determine whether the award money will be paid directly to the librarian as an individual or to their institution. This should be based on the institution’s grant-recipient requirements and whether the project is for personal research unrelated to their job or for a work-related project. Please note in the grant submission to whom the funds should be directed and provide contact information.

*Monetary award amounts are subject to change without notice and are contingent upon donor funding supplied at the time the award is presented.

**The award will not be granted for completed research projects, although a project may be already underway when the award is granted.



This award is on hiatus beginning in 2023.

Questions should be directed to the committee chair.


Submission Guidelines

Candidates must submit an application with the following:

  • A.C.V./resume
  • A double-spaced proposal, not exceeding 1,500 words, describing the upcoming research project:
    • Why the funds are needed
    • How they will help the proposed project come to fruition (methodology, etc.)
    • A preliminary title
    • The time frame in which the work will be conducted
    • The intended product (for example:  website, book, digital full-text(s), article, book chapter, research guide, conference paper, etc.)
    • The name of the person or institution to whom the money will be paid
    • Affiliation of the library professional conducting the project
    • Contact information of the library professional conducting the project
    • A detailed budget

Please note: If the award winner is not a member of the RUSA History Section, they are encouraged to become a member by the time the award is announced in March.

The award will not be granted for completed research projects, although a project may be already underway when the award is granted.



  • The value of the proposed research. All applicants should provide persuasive evidence that the proposed project has practical and/or scholarly value to the history librarianship community. The proposal should be as explicit as possible about the current state of knowledge of the subject, state the proposed objective(s), and explain what will be achieved by the project’s completion.
  • The methodology to be used. The research design should be outlined as specifically as possible.
  • The feasibility of the project.
  • The applicants qualifications.
  • Project timeline.

Publication of the project’s end-result is encouraged. Winners are expected to communicate about their progress and eventual completion of the project.



The project will be evaluated with the following criteria:

  • Value of the project to the history librarianship community – possible 5 points with a weighted value of 3
  • Quality, depth, comprehensiveness of the literature reviewed – possible 5 points with a weighted value of 2
  • Feasibility of the project – a combination of the appropriateness of the research method/research design and the reasonableness of the timeline – possible 4 points with a weighted value of 1
  • Applicant’s qualifications – possible 2 points with a weighted value of 1
  • Reasonableness of proposed expenditures – possible 2 points with a weighted value of 1

Proposals will be scored independently by the 4-person Award Committee, consisting of the History Section Past Chair and the three Members-at-Large. Scores for each proposal will be averaged and the final figure for each proposal will be used to rank the results.

The Award Rubric provides additional information on the judging process.

Award Recipients

2023: Whitney Thompson, Graduate Library Assistant, Edgewood College

2022: Lara Nicosia, Humanities Librarian, University of Rochester

2021:Jennifer Daugherty, Head of the North Carolina Collection in Academic Library Services at East Carolina University

2020: No Awardee for 2020

2019: Jennifer Brannock, Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries

2018: Jennifer McElroy, Reference Librarian, Minnesota Historical Society

2017: Wayne A. Wiegand, author and  F. William Summers Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Studies at Florida State University

2016: Thomas G. Padilla, Michigan State University Libraries

2015: David J. Gary, Yale University Library

2014: Yvonne Carignan, George Mason University

2013: Thea Lindquist, University of Colorado at Boulder