NLS Operations Alert
DATE : January 29, 2021
TO : Network Libraries
FROM : Mark Santangelo, Chief, Patron and Network Engagement Division
SUBJECT : Library of the Year 2020–2021
The pandemic has brought many challenges and changes, but the network libraries haven’t skipped a beat. We are proud of the resilience that the network has shown during this time. Tell us about your new initiatives and your successes in keeping your commitment to the wonderful patrons you serve and nominate your institution for the 2020–2021 Network Library of the Year Award or the 2020–2021 Subregional Library or Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year Award.
The awards are a chance for network libraries to spotlight inspirational stories, tout their accomplishments, and share their knowledge with others. Here is a sampling of the sorts of achievements we would like to highlight:
NLS will honor one Network Library of the Year and one Subregional Library or Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year. Each honoree receives 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 are presented at a luncheon ceremony in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress featuring a military color guard, Library of Congress leadership, and invited 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. If travel is prohibited by pandemic restrictions, the event will be virtual.
In addition to the honor and prestige of being recognized for your accomplishments, the award is a major outreach and publicity opportunity. 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 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 done the work—now it is time to let everyone know about your accomplishments and nominate your library to be recognized as one of the best. See below for details on how to apply for the Network Library of the Year Award or the Subregional Library or Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year Award.
Purpose of awards
The awards recognize excellence, innovation, and special achievement in providing library service during the calendar year 2020 to individuals who are blind or are print disabled.
Only NLS network regional and subregional libraries and advisory and outreach centers (AOCs) may be nominated.
January 29–February 26: Nominations accepted
March 1–April 2: Nominations reviewed
Summer 2021 (date TBD): Award ceremony held at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Due to pandemic-related travel uncertainties, there is a possibility the ceremony will be held virtually.
Nominations will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Libraries must be nominated by a patron, staff member, or manager of a network library or 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 2020. 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 physical disability.
The nominations will be reviewed by a committee consisting of six members: the Network Consultant for the Midlands/West of the NLS Patron and Network Engagement 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, February 26, 2021.
All nominations should be sent by email to Pamela Davenport, NLS Network Consultant, at [log in to unmask], and have the subject line “Nomination 2020–2021 Library of the Year.” Receipt of nominations will be confirmed via email. If your submission has not been confirmed by Monday, March 1, 2021, please contact Pamela at [log in to unmask].
To give you an idea of what your nomination package should include, attached to this email are the nominating letter and supporting document submitted on behalf of the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the 2019 Network Library of the Year winner and the Talking Books and Braille Center San Francisco Public Library, the 2019 Subregional Library of the Year winner.
For more information, contact:
Chief, Patron and Network Engagement Division
Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped 2019 Library of the Year nomination letter [PDF / 2 p.]
Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped supporting information [DOCX / 4 p.)
Talking Books and Braille Center San Francisco Public Library 2019 Subregional Library of the Year nomination letter [DOCX / 1 p.]
Talking Books and Braille Center San Francisco Public Library supporting information [DOCX / 4 p.)