Conference - Awards Committee

Welcome to your CAL Awards! These awards are given annually at CALCON in order to highlight, celebrate, and inspire people inside and outside of the library world! Our Colorado awards showcase innovative ideas, hard work, and accomplishments. We have updated our awards in order to invigorate and reflect both foundational and current library service. Do not hesitate to nominate anyone (including yourself!). Nominations are kept private.

Members of the CAL Awards Committee, a volunteer group of people who work in libraries throughout Colorado, look through the nominations every year and choose winners from each category. If you’d like to join the CAL Awards Committee please contact CAL Awards Chair Katherine Weadley at [email protected].

Awards are meant for the 12 months from April the year before through the end of April of this current year unless otherwise noted. To submit your award nomination, please click HERE.  

Colorado association of libraries awards

Distinction in Library Services award (new award in 2020) 

To recognize the efforts of a single person or a continuously working team in the service of libraries in Colorado. Nominations will be evaluated on the following criteria: evidence of improvement of library services; length of time in spent in library services; demonstrated innovation in library services; positive impact of the nominee’s career on other library employees and/or library users; and proven leadership beyond a job title; any other relevant data. This award may be given to someone currently employed or retired within the last 18 months.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award (new award in 2020) 

To recognize an individual, a group, an organization (in or outside of the library world), or a project, program, or policy that has contributed to advancing or advocating for equity, diversity, or inclusion in Colorado library services. Nominations will be evaluated on the following criteria: evidence of impact in creating opportunities for everyone (patrons, staff, volunteers, etc.) to participate in a welcoming atmosphere in library services; demonstrates the advantages of fostering opportunities that promote any or all these ideas to libraries and their services/patrons/community; any other relevant data.

Innovated Spaces Award (new award in 2020) 

To recognize an individual, organization, or a business with a library partnership who has created or recreated an innovative space inside or outside a library building or elsewhere that furthers library services. This could be a renovation, restoration, pop-up library, new building, an addition, refurbishment, or simply a reinvention. This space can be for patrons, staff, or community. Nominations will be evaluated on the following criteria: innovation of the space; evidence that the space supports library services, i.e. enhancing patron experience or staff workflow; evidence of sound fiscal management including sustainability factors; and a clear demonstration that an identified issue is being resolved by this action; any other relevant data. 

Jean Maio Award for excellence in Adult Literacy

To recognize excellence in adult or family literacy programming by a Colorado library, or a library in collaboration with another agency. Priority is given to a program that serves the economically disadvantaged in a setting where families work on literacy needs. This award is through the Maio family in honor of the late Jean Maio who was a strong advocate for literacy.

Library Partnership of the Year award

To encourage collaboration and community partnerships this award recognizes achievements in planning and implementing collaborative library programs or services between Colorado libraries, or between a Colorado library and a business(es), organization, association, group or individual. Nominations will be evaluated on the following criteria: description of the collaborative efforts; evidence of sound fiscal management; innovation of the collaboration/partnership; measured impact of the collaboration/partnership on library services; any other relevant data.

Lucy Schweers Award for Excellence in Support Services

To recognize support services staff who demonstrate outstanding leadership and service in a Colorado library, information, or school media field. This award honors Lucy Schweers, who recognized the importance of all people who work in libraries. Requirements for nominations are that the nominated either is or was a Colorado support services staff person (formerly known as a paralibrarian) for at least six months of the year before the call for award nominations and has also never received this award before. Nominations for this award will be evaluated based on the following criteria: directly or indirectly serves patrons and communities in a way that goes beyond basic requirements of their job; makes, enables or manages positive changes which benefit Colorado libraries and other support staff; exhibits optimism; and consistently leads and inspires other support staff; any other relevant data.

Outstanding Library Trustee award

To recognize exemplary service by a library trustee who has served their library and their community with distinction as a member of a library board. This award is open to any library board member, governing or advisory, who is currently serving or has served during the two years prior to nomination.

Project of the Year Award (modified in 2020) 

To recognize a creative and innovative project which benefits the mission and/or vision of its library. Any project within a library or over multiple libraries is eligible. This can include projects with a focus on technology, technical services, IT, public relations, marketing, and other programs. Nominations will be evaluated on the following criteria: description of the innovative nature of this project; overall breadth, vision, creativity and uniqueness of this project; evidence that the project significantly improved services for a targeted community or didn’t improve services with evaluation as to why (we learn from trying); any other relevant data. Building, remodeling, or renovation projects should be nominated under “Innovated Spaces” award. 

Unsung Hero Award

This award celebrates an individual, group, or organization who works behind the scene giving unselfishly to their libraries or library community. It is meant to honor those who don't receive recognition because their work generally goes unnoticed. This includes support staff, public relations, IT, library advocates, etc. Nominations for this award will be evaluated based on the following criteria: description of the individual's contribution to a library service or event; impact of efforts; uniqueness of the contributions; any other relevant data such as unusual circumstances or challenges; any other relevant data. 

Volunteer of the Year award

To recognize a volunteer currently serving in a Colorado library who has provided exemplary service over several years. This can include library Friends or Foundation members as well as as typical volunteers. Nominations for this award will be evaluated based on the following criteria: length of service; demonstrated impact of the volunteer’s efforts on staff and library users; the uniqueness of contributions; any other relevant data.

Committee Awards

Julie J. Boucher Award for Intellectual Freedom

To recognize a resident or organization of Colorado who has made an outstanding contribution to the cause of intellectual freedom in the State of Colorado. The nomination should outline contributions which demonstrate a clear understanding of the principles, the nature, the responsibilities and implications of the First Amendment.

The CAL Intellectual Freedom Committee chooses the award winner. For additional information, please contact the CAL Intellectual Freedom Committee Chairs at [email protected]. For award criteria, see

Legislative Award

To recognize any legislator(s) or legislative committee for exemplary work benefiting libraries in the State of Colorado.

The CAL Legislative Committee chooses the award winner. For additional information, please contact: Diane Lapierre, CAL Legislative Committee Chair

Nomination Process:

  • Write a letter of nomination to include with the nomination form.

  • This letter should include the attributes and characteristics that make the nominee an obvious selection for the award for which they are being nominated. The letter should describe in depth the accomplishments and contributions which deserve recognition. Notice that some of the awards have specific requirements for eligibility.

  • Obtain one or more letters of support for your nominee.

  • The letters of support should be submitted as separate documents. Please attach them to the online form with your nomination. They should include the attributes and characteristics that make the nominee an obvious selection for the award for which they are being nominated and should include detailed descriptions of the contributions which deserve recognition.

  • Supplemental materials are optional, and may include: additional letters of support, photos of the nominee or project, newspaper clippings, customer comments or other evidence of the nominee's merits. Attach each supplemental document individually to the online nomination form. Electronic materials are preferred; however, mailed supplemental materials will be accepted.

  • All materials can be submitted via the online nomination form on the CAL website.

If you need to mail any supplemental materials, or have any questions in regards to submitting materials please email the Awards Committee Chair. 

To nominate yourself or another person, please click HERE.

To view the 2020 award winners, please click HERE.



Katherine Weadley