Library Leadership Awards

Megan Hartline —  September 30, 2015 — Leave a comment
Photo of a star-shaped helium balloon floating over London cityscape

cc by-sa Lars Plougmann via flickr


You know that recognizing staff achievement can boost morale across your library (and Kevin just shared his method for remembering to give kudos). The positive effect of recognition is multiplied when it goes beyond an internal appreciation.

The library profession offers a variety of awards to recognize achievement, with various organizations choosing to highlight different facets of librarianship. We took a look at how different library associations around the world award library leadership. Here’s a small sample of library leadership awards from different national library organizations:



The Library Association of Chile recently split their Outstanding Librarian Award into three categories: teaching, research, and management. The 2015 award was given to Isabel Maturana Salas, a champion of information standards.


The Nigerian Library Association confers the E.B. Bankole Librarian of the Year Award for innovative individuals with a focus on contributing to the profession. The distinction is paired with a cash prize.


The Library Association of Singapore recognizes those “who demonstrate outstanding leadership and commitment to the library profession” with a Professional Service Award. Cool bonus: the award includes a piece of artwork. The 2013 recipient of the Professional Service Award was Idris bin Rashid Khan Surattee, recognized for thought leadership and special library management.

United Kingdom

We love a peer mentoring angle on leadership: the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals encourages growing leadership in others by giving a Mentor of the Year Award. The 2014 Mentor of the Year, Samuel Wiggins, said, “Mentoring can help to develop all individuals and, crucially, helps to start ideas and stir enthusiasm for the profession, for the mentee’s job, and for their own personal development.”

United States

Library Journal recognizes emerging leaders in an annual roundup of Movers and Shakers. The large group of individuals included each year are regognized in categories such as change agents, advocates, and community builders. A few of our own Library Lost & Found contributors (including Monica Harris and Leah White) have been Movers and Shakers. Heads up: 2016 nominations are due November 6).


Do you know an outstanding librarian? Spread the word about their great work. Find a regional, national, or international award that fits their great achievements. Many specializations within librarianship have leadership awards as well, from multicultural services to digital innovation.

Even if your nominees don’t win, knowing that you nominated them can be a huge morale boost.

Of course, every time a librarian gets an award, many others working hard and contributing to the profession don’t. Librarianship is a wide field of individuals doing a fascinating variety of work, and it’s impossible to award everyone who deserves recognition.

Awards are not the only way to recognize great work, and accolades are incredibly meaningful when they come from your own library leadership. In addition to looking at external awards, seek ways to heap praise on your employees internally. Librarians don’t need a gold star to feel good about their contributions, but it sure helps to know that colleagues appreciate hard work.

Let us know what you think about library awards in the comments!

Megan Hartline


Megan Hartline (@awrybrarian on Twitter) is a librarian in Denver, Colorado. In addition to librarianship, Megan's background is in nonprofit leadership. She would love to visit your library to talk about management, workflows, or customer service.

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