August 17, 2017

LibraryAware Community Award

The LibraryAware Community Award emphasizes the library’s engagement with the community and will recognize a library or library system that has demonstrated its ability to make its community “aware” of what the library can do for it—and has delivered on that promise. The award will be given by Library Journal, the oldest and most respected U.S. library publication, and funded by LibraryAware, a product of EBSCO Publishing’s NoveList Division.

This award will illuminate the value that communities throughout the United States and Canada derive from their libraries. It will highlight the outcomes of work by libraries—through the development of effective programs, services, partnerships and communications—that result in better communities and an increased understanding of how libraries contribute to a community’s well-being.  The award will demonstrate why libraries deserve the resources necessary to deliver the services that result in healthier, more prosperous, and more engaged cities, towns, and villages.


The LibraryAware Community Award will be given annually to a community of any size and its library during National Library Week. It will be presented to the mayor, city/county manager, or city council president, and library director.

The city/county will receive a plaque identifying it as a “LibraryAware” community.

  • The winning library will receive $10,000.
  • Second place   $7,500
  • Third place       $5,000

The winning library also will be featured in an article in Library Journal in the spring of 2017.


The LibraryAware Award will go to a library whose community is aware of and recognizes the library’s role:

  • In areas that are documented priorities in the community served by the library, such as digital access, adoption, and/or literacy; economic and workforce development; education; health care; public safety and emergency services; civic engagement.
  • As a place of transformation and change
  • As an organization whose activities ensure outcomes that are essential to the vitality of the community.

Criteria for the award include any and all components that create a LibraryAware community: strategic planning, marketing, outreach, partnerships, and programs, product, or service development. While a library/community does not have to meet all of the criteria below, these factors will be considered:

  • The community’s priorities/goals and how the library has helped achieve them, e.g., literacy, pre-K readiness, safe streets, economic sustainability, job training, digital access and literacy, etc.
  • Library partnerships with other town/city/county departments, agencies, or nongovernment organizations, e.g., businesses, community groups, educational institutions, to extend its effectiveness or to create a new service or upgrade and deliver an existing service
  • Local government engagement with the library to meet government priorities and deepen the impact of local services
  • Effective library interaction with local media
  • The replicability of the library’s efforts as a LibraryAware community and as a model for other libraries
  • A strategic plan that reflects a deep understanding of the community’s needs and aspirations
  • Events or activities that raise the visibility of the library as a community hub
  • Library programming beyond the library’s walls
  • Demonstrated support of the library as a result of the community being LibraryAware, e.g., passage of a budget or a budget increase, a bond issue or referenda, or other form of library support.


The LibraryAware Community Award is open to public libraries of any size in the United States and Canada. Anyone can nominate a library: the library administration itself, the local government, partner organizations, library peers, patrons, etc. Previous first place winners are not eligible. Previous second and third place winners are eligible to reapply three years after they were chosen (for example, a library honored as a second or third place winner in the 2013 award year is eligible again for the 2016 award year).

Each entry must include:

  1. Name, address, phone number, and email of nominee and the name of the contact person, as well as contact information for the submitter if different from the nominee.
  2. A written explanation of up to two pages (or a list of bulleted narrative points) that clearly enumerates how the library’s accomplishments fit the criteria for the award listed above. (Note: Entries that include impact, outcomes, and effects on the community will be especially helpful to the judges in rendering a decision. Supporting materials, such as brochures, testimonials, press clippings, etc., may be included and are helpful, but they are less important than the written narrative.)
  3. Photo(s) of library, staff, and patrons, if possible.
  4. Two letters of reference. At least one must come from a representative from local government such as a city manager. The other can from local government, partner organizations, public or private institutions, businesses, or library peers. (A library peer is someone who is knowledgeable about libraries in general and knows the nominated library well, but who is not employed by the library in any capacity, including as a consultant. Examples include librarians at neighboring libraries or colleagues at the state association or the state library.)
  5. Statistical data. On a separate sheet of paper please supply the following information:
  • Population served
  • Total annual budget (if you are part of another body of government, note if you pay utility bills, IT, etc.)
  • Per capita budget
  • Number of programs (both in house and outside the library)
  • Physical visits (door count)
  • Virtual visits (e-use, in house and remote, depending on data collected)
  • Circulation
  • Materials budget (including electronic databases)
  • Percent of budget spent on materials
  • Number of days and hours of service per week
  • Number of public access computers per population served
  • Number of staff
  • Percentage of staff who are professional librarians.

If you do not have all of these statistics, then submit at least the first seven. Selections are not made based on numbers, though they are helpful in giving context to the written submission.


As much as possible, please send submissions in an electronic format such as a Word document or a PDF via email to

Or mail nominations to:

LibraryAware Community Award
Library Journal
123 William St., Suite 802
New York, NY 10038

If you have any questions regarding the submission process, please contact Rebecca Miller at