FLA Awards

  • Nominations may be submitted by any member of the Florida Library Association and others, if noted in the award description.
  • FLA membership is not required for those submitting nominations for Friends, Foundations and Boards awards.
  • If, in the judgment of the FLA Awards Committee, there is not sufficient evidence of outstanding accomplishment in keeping with the criteria set for any award, that award will not be given.
  • If you have any questions or suggestions about the FLA Awards, you may contact the awards committee chair at flaawards@gmail.com

Awards Descriptions

Awards for Over-all Achievement

FLA Leader of the Year Award

Purpose: To recognize a member of the Florida Library Association for distinguished service to the Association.

Criteria: Distinguished service is characterized by dedicated commitment to the Association's goals through

  • active membership on committees
  • attendance at conferences
  • support of statewide advocacy efforts
  • submissions to the Association's publications
  • acceptance of leadership roles
  • other significant activities on behalf of the association and its aims

Eligibility: This award shall be bestowed on a nominee based on either accomplishment during the current year or during several years of activity.

Librarian of the Year Award

Purpose: To recognize outstanding and ongoing contributions to Florida librarianship.

Criteria: Eligible nominees should meet some but not necessarily all of the following criteria:

  • active participation in professional associations
  • exhibition of exemplary leadership skills
  • commitment to free access to information for all Floridians
  • promotion of reading and the increased usage of library materials
  • evidence of creativity and/or innovation in providing services, resources and programs
  • significant and influential academic or research library service
  • contributions to academic or research library development through research or publications in the literature of librarianship
  • planning or implementing a library program of exemplary quality
  • outstanding work on a particular aspect of library service in the home library of the nominee

Eligibility: Nominees must be professionally trained librarians. This award shall be bestowed on a nominee based on either accomplishment during the current year or during several years of activity.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

Purpose: To recognize a librarian with a long-standing, distinguished record of professional achievements and accomplishments.

Criteria: These achievements and accomplishments must have

  • spanned decades
  • advanced the stature of libraries within the State of Florida via such activities as
    • risk taking
    • innovation
    • significant change
  • The winner's contributions are so outstanding that their influence is of lasting importance to the entire spectrum of libraries and library service in Florida

Library of the Year Award

Purpose: To recognize a Florida library that has demonstrated outstanding service to the community it serves.

Criteria: Key considerations are

  • creativity and/or innovation in programming
  • expansion and/or enhancement of service to all constituents and areas of the community: city, county, campus
  • leadership in implementing programs that can be emulated by other libraries

Eligibility: Nominees can be a single library or a library system. This award is open to all libraries in the State of Florida including but not limited to academic, public, special, and school libraries.

Outstanding New Librarian Award

Purpose: To recognize a Florida librarian who:

  • is new to the profession
  • has made significant contributions to their library and librarianship
  • demonstrates potential for professional development

Criteria: Nominees will have:

  • made a substantial contribution to librarianship in their area of expertise
  • exceeded the requirements of their official job description
  • demonstrated a commitment to the library on their campus or in their community
  • demonstrated leadership in innovative programs or services

Eligibility: Nominees must:

  • be employed full time in a professional capacity as a librarian in an academic, public or special library
  • possess an MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA- accredited library school
  • have received their library degree no more than five years ago
  • have one full year of library service in Florida prior to their nomination
  • have less than three years of experience in the library profession, with at least two years of experience within the State of Florida

Outstanding Paraprofessional Award

Purpose: To recognize a library paraprofessional or support staff member who has made a significant contribution to libraries in Florida

Criteria: The nominee will have met one or more of these criteria:

  • promoted professional growth for, and solidarity among, library paraprofessionals or support staff on the local, state or national level
  • demonstrated active support for library development, funding services, customers or staff on the local, state or national level
  • demonstrated excellence in performance in his/her area of expertise

Any full-time library staff member who is not in a professional position is eligible. No person may receive the award more than once. This award is open to all libraries in the State of Florida including but not limited to academic, public, special, and school libraries

Entry should include:

  • name of the nominee and the library with which they are associated
  • 250 - 500 word essay stating why the individual deserves the award
  • name and library of the nominator (you may nominate a colleague or yourself) - nominator must be a member of FLA
  • additionally, the nomination may include a list of activities, programs and organization participation, recognition or awards, innovative support staff development activities or other noteworthy achievements in the workplace
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Awards for Embodiment of Values and Ideals

Intellectual Freedom Award

Purpose/Criteria: To recognize an individual or organization having made a significant contribution to increasing or defending the right of access to the intellectual content of both print and non-print media.

Eligibility: Any individual or organization residing or operating within the boundaries of the State of Florida during the current calendar year shall be eligible for nomination.

Supplemental Documentation Required: Nominations must be supported by three (3) letters of endorsement.

Library Innovation Award

Purpose: To recognize a Florida library that has displayed innovative methods, projects, products, or organizational enhancements, such as using current and emerging technologies for library processes or information service delivery.


  • Program or initiative that breaks new ground in library service, programming, etc.
  • Significantly benefits employees, library patrons, library operations,or the community-at-large, or the campus served.
  • Program or initiative can be replicated in other libraries.

Eligibility: Any creative or innovative program, activity or service will be considered.

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Maria Chavez-Hernandez "Libraries Change Peoples' Lives" Award

Purpose/Criteria: Named in honor of Florida State University's Dr. Maria Chavez-Hernandez, the purpose of this award is to recognize an individual library employee or group of employees who have made a demonstrably positive and big difference in the lives of Florida's library users. Of special focus are programs and services that provide outreach to immigrant and/or under served populations.

Eligibility: This award is open to all types of libraries, library organizations and library associations in the state. The recognized service or program must have been in place for at least two calendar years and may serve either adults, or adults and children. All types of programs and services may be nominated.

Background: Dr. Chavez-Hernandez received her Ph.D. in Library Science and Information Studies from Florida State University in 1991. She was responsible for a large body of work focusing on Library and Information Services in the Caribbean region, and provided many resources and programming on the specific library and information needs of Latin American immigrants and their families.

Dr. Chavez-Hernandez was also an active member of FLA, ALA, the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), the National Education Association (NEA), and REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking).

The Florida Library Association created this award to honor Dr. Chavez-Hernandez and to perpetuate the dynamic spirit of her work in expanding the opportunities of information access to under served and immigrant populations.

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Awards for Excellence in a Field of Endeavor

Library Web Presence Award

Purpose:To promote awareness of the importance of good design and usability in web page development and to recognize outstanding examples of effective library web pages and a library's overall web presence, which may include blogs and other social media

This award will be presented to one Florida library that provides excellent service via the World Wide Web.

Criteria: Excellence in the following:

  • Creativity and/or innovation in overall design and appearance of the web site
  • Arrangement of information and ease of use
  • Accessibility for all users, including users with disabilities
  • Subject areas
  • Access to virtual library services
  • Linked web sites
  • Services and databases available to the campus or community served

Eligibility:This award is open to academic, public and special libraries in the State of Florida

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Exemplary Instructional Programs or Services

Purpose: To recognize a Florida librarian or team of librarians and staff members who design, plan, execute or evaluate a continuing program or special project of library instruction. Further, the purpose of this award is to recognize best practices of sound design and the implementation of products and services in order to enhance learning in libraries. Continuing programs or special projects may include classes written and taught by library staff, structured tutorial programs coordinated by libraries, online tutorials or programs, or paper-based fact finders


  • outstanding and sustained work on continuing programs or projects concerned with library instruction
  • Innovative and creative achievement in the development of library instruction programs or projects
  • promotion of positive images of libraries in the minds of library users
  • leadership in the promotion of library instruction on the local, state, regional or national level
  • contributions to the knowledge of instructional librarianship through publications, lectures, etc.
  • Effectively implement each stage of the ADDIE model: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation
  • demonstrate a structured approach to the design, development and implementation of a quality learner-centered activity
  • demonstrate furthering the mission of the library where created/implemented
  • greater consideration will be given to examples that can be replicated or modified for use in other locations
  • participation in FLA activities

Eligibility: This award is open to all libraries in the State of Florida including but not limited to academic, public, special and school libraries

Required Information: Submit completed application form, which details:

  • Learning Objectives
  • Description of the program/event/material
  • Process used for design and development
  • Relation to the mission of the library
  • How was this program/event/material evaluated?
  • Results (Offered how many times? How many participants?)
  • Include testimonial letter from participant stating: What was learned? How did this promote learning?

Library Research Award

Purpose: To recognize excellence in research and to honor the best published research completed by one or more Florida librarians during the past two years.

Criteria: All types of research published in the past two years by a Florida practicing or professionally active librarians will be considered (books, journal articles, bibliographies, electronic publications). Doctoral dissertations and master's theses are not eligible but publications based on them will be considered. Research will be judged on its impact on librarianship and/or on the community served.

Eligibility: This award is open to all librarians in the State of Florida including but not limited to academic, public, special and school libraries

Required Information: Submit a copy of the research noted in the award application

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Libraries Mean Business Award

Purpose: To recognize a library's contributions to the business community.

Criteria: Nominees will be recognized for noteworthy service for a program which supports one or more aspects of workforce development, small business support, community development and employment. The following are examples of services that could be included in this program.

  • Services to small businesses, which can include but are not limited to how to start a small business, business forms, franchising information, and business plans.
  • Tools and training to help employees gain technology and other job-related skills
  • Web pages with links to resources for businesses and/or job seekers
  • Workshops and seminars on topics of interest to business and/or job seekers
  • Podcasts, videos, RSS feeds, a wiki or other similar tools on business and job related topics
  • Participation in blogs for small business owners, entrepreneurs and job seekers
  • Providing a business and or job center in the library
  • Presentations to local business organizations about the library's business related services and programs
  • Providing paper and electronic copies of local ordinances that affect businesses, e.g. zoning, local census projects, development plans, etc.
  • Organizing volunteers to provide assistance to businesses and job seekers
  • Facilitating community meetings partnerships and opportunities that bring together government departments, community groups, local businesses, and local leaders to promote economic development.
  • Serving as a tourist welcome and information center
  • Offering adult literacy programs and services for job seekers and for businesses
  • Supporting community development efforts through active involvement in the Chamber of Commerce, other local business or economic development organizations and government agencies that support business growth.
  • Libraries that collaborate with the Small Business Administration to provide services, such as video conferencing.

Eligibility: Academic, public, and special libraries are eligible. Nominees can be a single library or part of a library system or consortium. The program must have been conducted within the previous calendar year.

Who may submit a nomination? Recommendations for this award may be made by individuals from business organizations, government agencies, and businesses in the state as well as members of the Florida Library Association.


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Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Awards

Purpose: To recognize outstanding programs of direct service to youth.


  • Nominated programs should be outstanding examples of direct service to youth. Outstanding is defined as unique, distinctive, exceptional, notable, praiseworthy or exemplary.
  • Programs may be new or creative adaptations to existing programs.
  • Programs should promote reading, literacy, or library use and be directly related to the mission of the library where they were presented.
  • Greater consideration will be given to programs that can be replicated or modified for use in other locations.

Eligibility: Nominee must be a program of service and not an individual. Two awards will be presented annually: one for children's services (ages 12 and under) and one for teen/young adult services (ages 13 through 18). This award is open to all libraries in the State of Florida including but not limited to academic, public, special, and school libraries. Areas of programming can include but are not limited to:

  • Collection development
  • Reference and information services
  • Informational and recreational programs
  • Outreach to the community

Programs must have been presented within the past two calendar years

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Excellence in Marketing and Public Relations

Purpose: To honor outstanding strategic marketing or public relations projects or campaigns that show results; to provide other libraries in Florida models of excellence. In addition to being honored at the annual FLA Conference, winners will have the opportunity to display their projects for attendees.

Criteria: Members of the FLA awards committee will focus on strict guidelines evaluating your library’s:

  • Planning (35%)
  • Implementation and creativity (35%)
  • Evaluation (30%)

A strong submission should clearly:

  • Describe the challenge you faced; that is, why did you need a communication plan, and what was your objective? In your planning narrative, explain your strategic goals and messages for meeting that challenge.
  • Give substantive details in your implementation and creativity narrative on how you implemented your plan, showcasing the techniques, creativity, and promotional materials you used.
  • Review your results in your evaluation narrative and reflect on lessons learned throughout the process.
  • Showcase any outstanding supporting materials in an electronic format (photos, screenshots, PDF, PowerPoint, Word, etc.). Supporting materials can include any of the following: photos, clippings or media coverage, testimonials and patron comments, research, key messages, promotional pieces, screen shots of Web sites, electronic or social media promotion.

Eligibility: Application must be a marketing, public relations, or communication project or campaign that was completed during the calendar year prior to the conference at which the award will be bestowed. Libraries are permitted multiple submissions.

For more detail on the award criteria, see these guidelines (pdf).

The FLA’s Excellence in Marketing and Public Relations Award is modeled on the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, the American Library Association's most prestigious award.

Awards for Citizen Recognition

Outstanding Citizen Library Award

Purpose: To recognize the distinguished activities of a citizen of Florida in advancing the stature of libraries within the State of Florida.

Criteria: This award may be based on

  • assistance
  • promotion
  • contributions
  • endowment
  • publicity
  • any support

resulting in outstanding improvement to a library or the Florida Library Association.

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Friends, Foundations and Boards Outstanding Member Award

Purpose: To recognize a member of a Friends of the Library group, a library board member or a library foundation member for outstanding service or achievement.

Criteria: The overall accomplishments of the nominee should have aided in developing and strengthening the image of the library as a public service agency, which is an integral part of the government structure and with adequate tax support.

Eligibility: This award shall be bestowed on a nominee in actual service during the year but may be based on either accomplishment during the year or cumulative years of activity.

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Outstanding Business/Media Partner Award

Purpose: To honor a company, business partner, or media agency (including newspaper, television, magazine, etc.) for their leadership or significant contribution in support of library service to a local, regional, or state-wide library organization.

Criteria: A company, business partner or media agency may have provided

  • financial support;
  • publicity
  • volunteer recruitment campaign
  • employee involvement project
  • fund raising assistance or
  • outreach project

resulting in a positive change or improvement for library service. Special consideration will be given to efforts that can be replicated by others.

Required Information:

  • description of the project
  • description of the relationship between your organization and the nominee
  • number of individuals served by the project
  • Outcomes/results
  • Selected representative samples (if applicable) of the project/program (i.e. posters, newspaper articles, photos, fund raising literature, etc.)
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Nomination Forms

For FLA Awards - use the online nomination form

For Friends, Foundations and Boards Member Group Awards - download the paper form

Awards History

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