NLS Operations Alert

No. 20-05

DATE        :  January 17, 2020
TO            :  Network Libraries
FROM       :  Jason Yasner, Deputy Director, NLS
SUBJECT  :  2019 Library of the Year Awards

For NLS and our cooperating network, 2019 was a very busy year. Many of you launched new initiatives, faced a new challenge, and built on past successes. We're calling on network libraries to celebrate those achievements by nominating your institution for the 2019 Network Regional Library of the Year Award or the 2019 Network Subregional Library/Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year Award.

The awards are a chance for network libraries to spotlight inspirational stories, tout accomplishments, and share knowledge with others. Here is a short sampling of the types of work that we would like to highlight:

  *   Developing local audio and braille production capacity and contributing outstanding local books and magazines to BARD
  *   Providing programming such as book clubs, dance instruction, or movie nights with audio description
  *   Introducing new patrons to the benefits of using their own devices and serving themselves through BARD
  *   Transitioning from circulation of mass-duplicated cartridges to Duplication on Demand and zeroing out copy allotment
  *   Collaborating with other network libraries and sharing best practices
  *   Finding new ways to improve productivity and reliability
  *   Partnering with other institutions that serve people with disabilities
  *   Involving friends or advisory groups in library outreach
  *   Developing instructional programs and materials on the latest technology and assistive resources

NLS recognizes one Network Regional Library of the Year and one Network Subregional Library or Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year annually, depending upon the quality and number of the nominations.

Each library honored will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a framed certificate celebrating their achievement. Copies of the certificates will be added to a permanent display maintained at NLS in Washington, D.C.

The awards will be presented at a private luncheon ceremony held in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The lunch features a military color guard and LOC leadership, and had recently included members of Congress. NLS will cover the cost of travel to Washington, D.C. for one representative of each winning library and one representative from each honoree's administering agency.

The award is a major outreach and publicity opportunity for the winning libraries. Through releases and announcements about the awards in Library of Congress publications and social media, NLS increases awareness of the important role that network libraries play in providing vital reading services to hundreds of thousands of deserving and devoted readers. Past honorees have found that the attention generated by the award can be a powerful demonstration to state and local decision-makers of the importance of the services they provide.

You have already put in the time and effort; now your opportunity to celebrate your great work by nominating your library. Below, you will find details about the submission process.

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 print disability.

Only NLS network regional and subregional libraries and advisory and outreach centers (AOCs) may be nominated.


  *   January 21-March 6, 2020: Nominations accepted
  *   March 9-April 3, 2020: Nominations considered
  *   Summer 2020 (day TBD): Award ceremony held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Selection Criteria
Nominations will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  *   Mission support: the extent to which the library reached or exceeded the ALA Revised Standards and Guidelines of Service
  *   Creativity and innovation: the extent to which the library developed new patron services or marketed existing services in an exceptional manner
  *   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 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.
  *   Submissions should contain one page (not to exceed 250 words) for each of the three selection criteria listed above. Each page must explain how the nominee meets the given selection criterion, citing specific examples and providing supporting information and statistics for the year 2019. (See attached nomination from a past winning submission.)
  *   Submissions should also 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 must be in an accessible electronic format so that selection panel members who are blind or visually impaired 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 print disability.

Selection Process
The nominations will be reviewed by a six-member committee: the Network Consultant for the Midlands/West of the NLS Network Division, who serves as chair and a non-voting 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 four network regional conference chairs, who will recommend the winners to the NLS Director.

NLS must receive all nominations by Friday, March 6, 2020.

All nominations must be sent by email to Pamela Davenport, NLS Network Consultant, at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>, and have the subject line "Nomination 2019 Library of the Year." Receipt of nominations will be confirmed via email. If your submission has not been confirmed by Monday, March 9, 2020, please contact Pamela at 202-707-8296.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - 2018 LOY nomination cover letter [MS Word (PDF) / 2 p.]
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - 2018 LOY nomination [MS Word (DOC) / 4 p.]

For more information, contact:
Jason Yasner
Deputy Director, NLS
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