NLS Operations Alert


No. 17-06



DATE          :     January 9, 2017

TO                :     Network Libraries

FROM         :     Richard Smith, Chief, Network Division

SUBJECT   :     2016 Library of the Year Awards



The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) is calling for nominations for two awards: the 2016 Network Library of the Year Award and the 2016 Network Subregional Library or Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year Award.


Purpose of awards

The awards commend excellence, innovation, and special achievement in providing library service during the calendar year to individuals who are blind or have a physical disability.



Only NLS network regional and subregional libraries and advisory and outreach centers (AOCs) may be nominated for either of the two awards.





Each award recipient will receive $1,000, a plaque, and two copies of the certificate—one for the library and one for its administering agency. The names of the winners will also be placed on perennial plaques, one of which is displayed at NLS and two that each of the winners keeps for one year.


Selection criteria

Nominations will be evaluated based on the following criteria:


  1. Mission support: the extent to which the library reached or exceeded the ALA Revised Standards and Guidelines of Service


  1. Creativity and innovation: the extent to which the library developed new patron services or marketed existing services in an exceptional manner


  1. Patron satisfaction: the extent to which the library met the needs of its patrons during the year


Nomination process

Libraries must be nominated by a patron, staff member, manager of a network library, or a member of its administering agency. The nominator must include complete contact information (name, address, phone number, and email address) and a description of his/her relationship to the library.


Nominations should contain a separate one-page library profile summarizing highlights, types of services provided, number of patrons served, and other supporting statistics such as factsheets or annual reports.


Submissions should contain one page (not to exceed 250 words) for each of the three selection criteria mentioned above. Each page must explain how the nominee meets each selection criterion, citing specific examples and providing supporting information and statistics for the year 2016.


You may include three supporting documents (newspaper article, report, statistic, commendation, etc.). Submissions must be in an accessible electronic format so that selection panel members who are blind can read them. Submissions may be used in future NLS publications for examples of best practices for libraries serving individuals who are blind or have a physical disability.



NLS must receive all nominations by Tuesday, February 28, 2017.



Nominations sent by email should have the subject line “Nomination 2016 Library of the Year.” Send all nominations by email to [log in to unmask] or by expedited delivery service (FedEx or UPS) to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, 1291 Taylor Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20542-4960; Attn: Chief, Network Division. Please do not send nominations through the U.S. Postal Service.


Receipt of nominations will be confirmed to the nominator via an email from Stephen Prine, Network Division assistant chief. If your submission has not been confirmed by Wednesday, March 1, 2017, please contact Network Division chief Richard Smith at (202) 707-9300.


Selection process

The nominations will be reviewed by a committee consisting of six members: the chief of the NLS Network Division, who serves as chair and a nonvoting member; one representative from each of three consumer groups (American Council of the Blind, Blinded Veterans Association, and National Federation of the Blind); and two representatives from public libraries (to be selected by the chair). The committee will review the nominations and submit a list of two finalists for each award to the NLS director and the four network regional conference chairs, who will recommend the winners.



The awards will be presented during a luncheon at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Friday, May 19, 2017. This special event honoring the Network Library Award winners and their administering agencies will be announced in a national news release and covered on social media and in NLS News and other Library of Congress publications. NLS will cover travel costs to the ceremony for one representative of each winning network library and one representative of its administering agency.


For more information contact:

Richard Smith

Chief, Network Division

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