May 19, 2022

Public Library Association Honors Eleven Individuals and Public Libraries with 2018 Service Awards and Grants

Congrats to all of the recipients!

From the Public Library Association:

The Public Library Association (PLA) has announced the winners of its 2018 service awards and grants, honoring the best in public library service, innovation and outreach.

The Allie Beth Martin Award, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, recognizes a public librarian for demonstrating a range and depth of knowledge about books and other library materials as well as the distinguished ability to share that knowledge. This year’s award of $3,000 is presented to Hana Zittel, a librarian at the Denver (Colo.) Public Library whose extraordinary range and depth of knowledge in reader’s advisory matters impacted library users and non-users locally and nationwide.

The Baker & Taylor Entertainment Audio Music/Video Product Award includes $2,500 in audio music and video products for the circulating collection of the selected recipient. The 2018 grant recipient is Autauga Prattville Public Library (Prattville, Ala.), which serves a disadvantaged community in which many families lack internet access. The library will use the funding from this grant to greatly expand its collection of DVDs.

The Charlie Robinson Award, sponsored by Baker & Taylor, honors a public library director who has been a risk-taker, innovator, and change agent. The 2018 winner of this $1,000 award is Mary Anne Hodel, director and CEO of the Orange County (Fla.) Library System (OCLS). Hodel has also worked tirelessly to build the perception of the library as an evolving, dynamic pillar of the community, and under her leadership OCLS has offered innovative technology and methods of learning for library patrons.

The DEMCO New Leaders Travel Grant is designed to enhance the professional development of public librarians new to the field by making their attendance possible at critical professional development events. This year’s grant recipients are Clare Broyles, cataloging and technical services librarian, Radford (Va.) Public Library, and Christie Reale, Kannapolis branch manager, Cabarrus County Public Library (Kannapolis, N.C.). Each will receive a $1,500 grant to attend a PLA continuing education event.

The EBSCO Excellence in Rural Library Service Award honors a public library for exemplary service to a community of 10,000 or fewer people whose top per-capita income is less than the 75 percent of the national average. This year’s $1,000 award is presented to Scottsboro (Ala.) Public Library in recognition of Building Better Leaders, the library’s leadership program for junior-high school students.

The Gordon M. Conable Award honors a public library staff member, a library trustee, or a public library that has demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights. The 2018 award of $1,500 is presented to Wanda Mae Huffaker, chairperson of the Utah Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. In this role, Huffaker has raised awareness of intellectual freedom issues throughout the state and provided members of the association with resources to report challenges to materials in their libraries.

The John Iliff Award, sponsored by Innovative, honors the life and accomplishments of John Iliff, early adopter and champion of technology in public libraries. This award provides a $1,000 honorarium to a library professional or library that has used technology and innovation as a tool to improve services to public library users. The 2018 John Iliff Award is presented to the District of Columbia Public Library for its goDigital portal, a model program for other public libraries seeking to enhance access to their digital collections and usage of their digital resources.

The Romance Writers of America Library Grant is designed to provide a public library the opportunity to build or expand its romance fiction collection and/or host romance fiction programming. This year’s $4,500 grant recipient is the Wallkill (N.Y.) Public Library, which will use the funds to greatly expand its collection of romance titles in both regular and large print.

New for 2018, The Singer Group Helping Communities Come Together Award recognizes a public library’s ability to identify community needs specifically in times of crisis and division, and respond in creative and exemplary ways. The inaugural winner of this $1,000 award is the Peoria (Ill.) Public Library for its courageous and creative response to the opioid crisis.

The Upstart Library Innovation Award honors a public library’s innovative or creative service program with a $2,000 honorarium. The 2018 winner is the Orange County (Fla.) Library System, for its BizKids program, which promotes youth entrepreneurship by teaching basic job and business skills to children.

PLA President Pam Smith, along with the award sponsors and PLA members, will recognize the award winners as part of the PLA Member Welcome Breakfast at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference this June in New Orleans, La. PLA award winners are chosen by the PLA Award Juries.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.