The Awards and Honors Committee is responsible for selecting recipients of all awards and honors given by the Association, with the exception of the Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award. Recipients of the Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award are selected by the Intellectual Freedom Committee. Recipients of all awards must be approved by the Board of Directors before the awards are presented. The Awards and Honors Committee also works in coordination with the Services to Children and Youth Interest Group to confer the Montana Treasure State Award and with the Professional Development Committee to confer the Baker and Taylor Junior Members Roundtable Award.
MLA Memorial Proposal Policy
The Montana Library Association Board has the ultimate authority and responsibility for naming awards. Upon the recommendation of the Awards Committee, the Board may rename awards to honor persons with or without a monetary gift. Criteria for naming awards will include a significant connection to the Montana library community, a demonstrated history of reflecting the values and mission of libraries, and an extraordinary, trans formative, and lasting contribution to furthering the interests of libraries across the state. The Board shall inform the honorees or their survivors of the process but reserves the right to determine the form, the equity, and the duration of this honor.
A request for nominees is placed in the December issue of the Montana Library Focus. Nominees may also be solicited earlier in the year using other means, such as inclusion in another Association mailing. The request for nominees must include the award guidelines, nomination procedures, the date on which nominations are due, and the name and address of the committee chair. The deadline date should be set no later than the fourth Monday in January in order for the committee to complete its work.
Form of Nominations
Each nomination must consist of three letters of support; one from the nominator and two from other supporters of the nomination. No more than three letters of support will be considered by the committee. In addition, those nominating a work for the Media Award must provide the committee with a copy of the nominated work. All nominations will be confidential until the recommendations of the committee have been approved by the Board of Directors and the recipients notified.
Selection of Recipients
- The committee chair will screen the nominations to check that they are complete. Copies of the nominations will be sent to committee members for review. Because the letters of support may provide information of historical interest about those nominated, the original letters of support shall be sent to the Executive Director for retention in the Association’s files/archives upon completion of the awards selection process.
- The committee should select only one recipient for the following awards: Library of the Year Award, Sheila Cates Award for Librarian of the Year, Trustee of the Year Award, and School Administrator of the Year Award. With the approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, the committee may select more than one recipient for the following awards, if in the judgment of the committee all recipients meet the criteria established for the award: Honorary Life Membership, Special Friend to Libraries Award, Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award, Media Award, and Interest Group Excellence Award.
- If, in the judgment of the committee, no nominees meet the criteria established for an award, no award will be conferred in that category.
- The committee should complete its review of the nominations and select award recipients by February 15. The committee chair should recommend the award recipients in writing to the President for approval by the Board of Directors no later than March 1.
- The Intellectual Freedom Committee, while generally making the decision as to the recipients of the Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award, works closely with the Awards and Honors Committee. Solicitation for award nominations includes information about the Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award. If nominations for this award are received by the Awards and Honors Committee, they should be forwarded to the Intellectual Freedom Committee chair. The Intellectual Freedom Committee chair should inform the Awards and Honors Committee chair of the recipient(s) selected. The Awards and Honors Committee chair includes the recipients in notification correspondence and Awards Luncheon plans. The announcement of the Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award recipients may be made with the other recipients or made separately by the Intellectual Freedom Committee. The two committee chairs should work together to make these decisions.
- No awards may be presented on behalf of the Montana Library Association without the approval of the Board of Directors.
- After approval by the Board of Directors, the committee chair will notify, in writing on Association letterhead, the nominators and the individual or group selected to receive each award. The letter of notification should also include preliminary information about the conference Awards Luncheon. Nominators of award recipients should also be encouraged to honor and publicize the award recipient locally.
- Nominators of individuals and groups who were not selected should also be notified in writing and encouraged to resubmit the nomination at a later time.
The committee chair should prepare a press release listing the award recipients for release during National Library Week. Biographical information and photographs can be added to a brief explanation of each award. Press releases should be sent to major Montana newspapers and television stations and to the local media in the award recipient’s community. The committee may also coordinate with the conference Local Arrangements Committee to seek local press coverage of the awards presentation. The committee should also prepare an article for Montana Library Focus for publication after the conference.
Purchase of Awards
The committee is responsible for selecting and purchasing appropriate awards to be presented to the recipients. Details of the type of award currently being purchased should be kept in the committee’s files and transferred to the incoming chair. Expenses for awards should be included in the committee’s budget.
Presentation of Awards
- The Association provides each award recipient with two complimentary tickets for the Awards Ceremony. If printed and available, the tickets may be included in the letter of notification. Otherwise, tickets should be sent later or arrangements made for them to be picked up at the conference site. Nominators/presenters of awards do not receive complimentary luncheon tickets.
- Award recipients should also be notified that they may purchase additional tickets, if they wish. The chair should confirm whether recipients will attend the ceremony and who will present each award. The chair should also confirm how many people will be in each recipients group of supporters so that enough places for them may be reserved at the ceremony.
- Depending on the circumstances and on a very limited basis, the Association may provide a hotel room for a recipient, who is not a member of MLA and who is required to travel a long distance to the conference. Such an expense must be approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.
The Montana Library Association honors individuals and groups who have served the Association and/or the Montana library community with distinction. The Montana Library Association confers the following awards and honors:
Honorary Life Membership
Honorary life membership may be conferred upon an individual who either has made an outstanding contribution to librarianship or who has rendered outstanding service to library interests. To be eligible for honorary life membership, an individual shall have made a contribution of lasting importance to the field of librarianship. The contribution must be outstanding enough so there can be no question of his/her suitability. Only living persons may be considered for honorary life membership.
Interest Group Excellence Award
The award is conferred upon an individual member of an MLA interest group, or upon an interest group as a whole, for meritorious service on behalf of Montana libraries and/or librarians. The award shall be based upon, but not limited to, activities or accomplishments such as the following:
- Comprehensive projects which benefit the larger library community.
- Exemplary programs or outstanding services which are not available through other channels.
- Extraordinary assistance to other libraries and/or librarians in Montana.
Jane Lopp Trustee of the Year Award
The award is conferred upon a Montana public library trustee in recognition of outstanding achievement and leadership. Nominations may be made by any library board, individual library, librarian, trustee, MLA member, or the Montana State Library Commission. Equal consideration shall be given to trustees of small and large libraries. The award shall be based upon, but not limited to, activities or accomplishments such as the following:
- Service to the local library and participation in state and national activities.
- Constructive accomplishments in promoting library service shall be considered rather than the length of service as a trustee.
- Interest in and contribution to the development of library services beyond those of the local community.
- Achievements of nominees are judged according to criteria found in the Montana Public Library Trustee Manual.
Library Program of the Year Award
This award is conferred on a project, program, or innovation run by a Montana library, library system, or library network that is NOT a K-12 school library, which demonstrates excellence. The award shall be based on, activities or accomplishments executed in the previous year (Jan 1-Dec 31) and demonstrates the following:
- Fosters relationships and networking either within a given community or across multiple communities
- Addresses a special need or challenge in a community
- Represents exemplary service or programing
- Has a measurable impact
- Demonstrates good project planning and development
- Introduces a new approach or expands a current practice
- Engages the community in planning, sponsorship or active participation
Examples of projects could be: a library building project, a State-Wide project, a Homebound or delivery program, an early reading program, etc.
Library of the Year Award
The award is conferred upon any type of Montana library, library system, or library network for distinguished achievement in service. The staff, library board of administering body, and the community or people served shall all be involved in the work for which recognition is sought. The award shall be based upon, but not limited to, activities or accomplishments such as the following:
- User services
- Development of innovative partnerships through networks, systems, cooperative planning and programming
- Sound collection development policies
- Offering opportunities for professional growth and job satisfaction for all employees
- Improvement of physical facilities resulting in better service
MLA Champion Award
The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals or groups who have rendered outstanding service in support of library interests across the state of Montana but are not formal members of the library community. The award helps to raise awareness of and celebrate individuals and connections beyond the library community. The recipient recognizes, promotes, and sacrificially supports the values, purpose, and vision of libraries. Their statewide work for libraries demonstrates an understanding of the importance of a free, literate, and well- informed citizenry in upholding our constitutional republic. They further recognize the library’s essential role in supporting our citizens’ achievements through library services and helping our communities flourish. There should be no question as to the suitability of the recipient due to the strength and dedication they have shown to Montana’s libraries. Nominations are accepted only from members of the Montana Library Association.
The award is conferred to honor a production for broadcast or a work for publication which best underscores the value of libraries to community and society. This includes works prepared for television, radio, cable, film and/or print media. News articles/programs and documentaries also qualify. The broadcast or publication of the nominated work should be within the two year preceding the annual conference at which the award is to be made. A copy of the nominated work must be submitted to the Awards and Honors Committee for review.
Outstanding Support Staff of the Year
This award is conferred upon a Montana library Support Staff employee in recognition of outstanding service to the library profession and excellence in job performance. The Support Staff worker must be currently employed in a Montana library. The award shall be based upon, but not limited to, activities or accomplishments such as the following:
- Provision of high quality library services
- Contribution to any area of service benefitting library users
- Commitment to promoting library service and free access to information for all
- Leadership in strengthening the image of library staff
- Leadership in fostering communication between library workers
- Active service in library activities at the local, state, regional, or national level
Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award
The award is conferred upon an individual or group who has made significant contributions during the past year to the enhancement of First Amendment rights or upon an individual whose body of work over time has made significant contributions to the enhancement of intellectual freedom. The recipient should have demonstrated a clear understanding of the principles, nature and responsibilities and implications of the First Amendment. The recipient should be a Montanan or a non-Montanan whose contribution has a demonstrable effect on Montana. The recipient should have applied that understanding of the principles in one or more of the following ways
- In defense of the principles in the face of a serious challenge to it which defense is not necessarily limited to libraries.
- In support of the principles through an active role in:
- Formulating programs which develop people’s ability to deal with a full range of opinion/controversy and with the issues associated with such controversy, or
- Developing, or materially assisting in the development of, a legal base for the continued enjoyment of freedom of mind, its strengthening, and its defense, or
- Expanding the philosophical foundations of the principle or contributing to better understanding of it.
School Administrator of the Year Award
The award is conferred upon a Montana school administrator in recognition of outstanding achievement and leadership in the development and promotion of school libraries. Nominations for this award should come from the librarian currently employed by the school district of the nominee. The award shall be based upon, but not limited to, activities or accomplishments such as the following:
- Constructive accomplishment toward the advancement of library service to the students and teachers of the school.
- Development of sound school library policies.
- Creative and effective work in interpreting the library to the school board, school administration, teaching staff, students, and community.
- Fostering cooperative relations with other libraries in the area.
- Implementation of programs to address special needs or problems.
- Defense of intellectual freedom.
- Promoting and supporting the employment of professional librarians in schools.
School Library Program of the Year Award Application Application
This award is conferred upon a distinguished Montana Teacher Librarian and the school library program in which they serve. This award recognizes the outstanding achievement of the teacher-librarian in fully integrating the school library program with curricular goals. A cash award of $500.00 will be provided by Follett Library Resources to be used for library development. The award shall be based on, but not limited to, activities or accomplishments such as the following:
- Emphasis of the school library program’s role in the instructional process through professionalism, collaboration, and design of library resources that are in support of curricular goals
- Leadership in information literacy instruction through a variety of models for students, staff, and other community members
- Administration of information management systems that support student learning and school and district programs
- Establishment of a powerful, relevant, and ubiquitous culture of reading in the school community
Sheila Cates Award for Librarian of the Year
The award is conferred upon a librarian in recognition of outstanding leadership and accomplishment in library service. The librarian must be currently employed in any field of librarianship in Montana and must be a current ember of the Montana Library Association. The librarian must be in a professional librarian position. The award shall be based upon, but not limited to, activities or accomplishments such as the following:
- Provision of high quality, community-centered library services
- Contribution to any area of service benefiting users
- Distinguished service to the profession, including outstanding participation in activities of professional library associations and/or notable publications
- Leadership in education and in-service training for librarians
- Leadership in cooperative activities
- Outstanding development of library techniques, management, and/or facilities.
Special Friend to Libraries Award
The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals or groups who are not members of the Montana Library Association and who have rendered outstanding service in support of library interests within their Montana communities. The award is conferred simply as a reward for a job well done. Nominations are accepted only from members of the Montana Library Association. The award need not be based solely on service rendered during the previous year, but may be based on cumulative years of service their local library community.