ACRL’s 2016 Awards Program: Honoring outstanding achievements in academic librarianship

Chase Ollis

Earlier this year, ACRL celebrated its 75th anniversary of advancing learning and transforming scholarship in the higher education community. A major part of this celebration included honoring the outstanding achievements of academic and research librarians across North America. From a team that created a repository of instructional videos to help patrons use library resources; to the inspiring commitment to women’s studies a librarian has shown throughout her career; to a community college library that has built an information literacy initiative focused on flipped instruction, virtual learning for distance students, and financial literacy; the innovations of our community have continued to demonstrate the notable impact librarianship has in the academic landscape.

Made possible by generous corporate support, the annual presentation of our prestigious awards, grants, and fellowships to these and other deserving individuals and institutions enables ACRL to honor the very best in academic librarianship. This year, ACRL once again seeks to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of our peers.

ACRL members are an integral part of our successful awards program. Please consider acknowledging those who have influenced your thinking, your practice, and your growth as an academic or research librarian. We urge you to nominate colleagues whose work you admire, and whose contributions merit recognition by the profession. Your nominations will ensure that the pool of candidates for each award remains both competitive and distinguished.

Complete information about the ACRL awards program, including nomination procedures, past winners, criteria and contacts, is available in the “Awards & Scholarships” section of the ACRL website at December 4, 2015, is the deadline for most of the awards to be presented in 2016. A brief description of each award is listed below.

From left to right: 2014–15 ACRL President Karen Williams; Robert A. Seal, 2015 ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year; Mary Ellen Davis, ACRL executive director.

Achievement and distinguished service awards

  • Excellence in Academic Libraries Award (sponsored by YBP Library Services): $3,000 for each type of library award (college, community college, and university). Recognizes academic libraries that are outstanding in furthering the educational missions of their institutions.
  • Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award (sponsored by YBP Library Services): $5,000 award. Recognizes an outstanding member of the academic or research library profession.
  • Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award (sponsored by ACRL, Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, Library Leadership and Management Association, and Library and Information Technology Association: cash award. Recognizes outstanding achievements (including risk-taking) in the areas of library automation, management, or development and research.
  • Law and Political Science Section Marta Lange/SAGE-CQ Press Award (sponsored by SAGE-CQ Press): $1,000 award. Recognizes a librarian who has made distinguished contributions to bibliography and information service in law or political science.
  • Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award (ACRL Instruction Section): $1,000 award. Recognizes an individual librarian for significant contributions to the advancement of instruction in a college or research library environment.
  • Instruction Section Innovation Award (sponsor pending): honors librarians who have implemented innovative approaches to information literacy at their respective institutions or in their communities. Deadline: November 30, 2015.
  • College Libraries Section Innovation in College Librarianship Award (sponsor pending): honors librarians who demonstrate a capacity for innovation in working with or serving undergraduates or instructors in the areas of programs, services, and operations; or creating innovations for library colleagues that facilitate their ability to better serve the library’s community.
  • Community College Learning Resources Leadership/Library Achievement Awards (sponsored by EBSCO Information Services): $750 for each of two awards recognizing outstanding achievement in library programs or leadership.
  • Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship Award (sponsored by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group): $1,200 conference sponsorship award to honor any individual ACRL member working in the field of, or contributing to the success of, distance learning librarianship or related library service in higher education.
  • Distinguished Education and Behavioral Sciences Librarian Award (sponsor pending): honors outstanding contributions to education and behavioral sciences librarianship through accomplishments and service to the profession.
  • Women & Gender Studies Section Award for Career Achievement (sponsor pending): recognizes career achievement in the area of women and gender studies librarianship.
  • Women & Gender Studies Section Award for Significant Achievement (sponsor pending): honors a distinguished academic librarian who has made outstanding contributions to women and gender studies through accomplishments and service to the profession.
  • University Libraries Section Outstanding Professional Development Award (sponsored by Library Juice Academy): $1,000 award to recognize librarians, archivists, or curators whose contributions to providing professional development opportunities for librarians have been especially noteworthy or influential.

Research awards and grants

  • WESS-SEES De Gruyter European Librarianship Study Grant (sponsored by the Walter de Gruyter Foundation for Scholarship and Research): €2,500 grant supporting research in European studies with an emphasis on librarianship, the book trade, resource documentation, and similar information-science related topics.


  • Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab Exhibition Catalogue Awards (sponsored by Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab, American Book Prices Current): Recognizes outstanding catalogs published by American or Canadian institutions in conjunction with library exhibitions. Deadline: October 15, 2015.
  • Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award (sponsored by Emerald Group Publishing Limited): $3,000 to recognize an outstanding publication related to instruction in a library environment published in the last two years. Deadline: November 30, 2015.
  • Science and Technology Section Oberly Award for Bibliography in the Agricultural or Natural Sciences: This biennial award is given in odd-numbered years for the best English-language bibliography in the field of agriculture or a related science.

If you would like more information about the ACRL 2016 Awards Program, visit the “Awards & Scholarships” section of our website at or contact ACRL Program Coordinator Chase Ollis at E-mail: .

We welcome your nominations and look forward to celebrating achievements in academic librarianship in 2016.

New ULS Outstanding Professional Development Award

ACRL is proud to announce a new addition to our lineup of prestigious awards. The ULS Outstanding Professional Development Award was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors and the ALA Awards Committee at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Sponsored by Library Juice Academy, the $1,000 award recognizes an individual or group for the development and provision of high-quality professional development opportunities for librarians and library staff. More information about the ULS Outstanding Professional Development Award can be found on the “Awards & Scholarships” section of the ACRL website at

Copyright © 2015 Chase Ollis

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