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WLA Merit Awards

WLA 2021 Merit Awards Announced!

On behalf of the 2021 WLA Awards Committee, we're honored to award the following Merit Awards to the recipients below for their commitment to Washington libraries.

  • President's Award: WA Digital TeachKit Team
    • Shana Ferguson
    • Christie Kaaland
    • Hillary Marshall
    • Mark Ray
    • Elizabeth Courage
    • Trish Henry
    • Kristin Jewell
    • Brittany Kealy
    • Michelle Lane
    • Heather Newman
    • Mia Roberts
    • Alicia Wilson
  • Emeritus Lifetime Membership: Craig Seasholes
    • Nominated by Sarah Logan
  • Honorary Lifetime Membership: Rep. John Lovick
    • Nominated by the WLA Legislative Committee
  • Outstanding Service Award: Hillary Marshall
    • Nominated by Sarah Logan
  • Outstanding Service Award: Maureen Rust
    • Nominated by Rebecca Lubas and Elizabeth Brown
  • Outstanding Service Award: Dana Mannino
    • Nominated by Melissa Rhoades
  • Outstanding Service Award: CWU Libraries Access Services Team (Tom Dell, Michael Elkins, Samuel Faulk, Stephanie Genna, Elizabeth Kuykendall, Lisa Rushton Smith, Sydney Thompson)
    • Nominated by Elizabeth Brown
  • Candace Morgan Intellectual Freedom Award: Laura Sherbo
    • Nominated by Sara Jones

We honor you and your continued commitment to the profession and to the communities you serve. Thank you for all you have done — and continue to do.

Please note, calls for School Library Division award nominations will be made in Spring 2022. Check back in the spring for a list of awards.

2021 Merit Awards Timeline

Aug. 23, 2021: Call for nominations
Sept. 8, 2021: Nominations due
Sept. 20, 2021: Award winners notified
Sept. 22, 2021: Winners announced in WLA Wednesday

Libraries serve a wide range of persistent and emerging needs in their communities, and it’s no surprise that they stood at the forefront of the pandemic response. Even when their buildings were closed, Washington libraries found innovative ways to serve users and meet the needs of their communities.

The WLA Awards offer the opportunity to recognize and highlight the outstanding work that has been ongoing in Washington libraries.

What library achievement did you see in your community or workplace that you’d like to see celebrated? Examples can include, but aren’t limited to, outstanding service in the areas of:

  • Programming (virtual, educational, community building)
  • Outreach to users
  • Services
  • Access to technology
  • Access to collections
  • Serving the needs of people who were vulnerable, underserved
  • Providing innovative ways to deliver services, materials

Library workers at all levels and in all types of libraries are eligible. Nominees do not need to be WLA members (with the exception of the Emeritus Award and the WALE Award). Additionally, nominators do not have to be WLA members.
Award winners will receive a complimentary year of WLA membership. To nominate an outstanding individual or group for an award, please complete the WLA Award Nomination Form by Wednesday, September 8. If you have questions or wish to discuss eligibility requirements, please contact the WLA Office.

Lifetime Membership Awards

  • Emeritus Membership(s):  Recognizes an outstanding WLA member who has retired from library service prior to the annual conference, acknowledging consistent and outstanding service in WLA and for their years of service promoting and providing excellence in libraries
  • Honorary Membership(s):  Recognizes an individual who has supported libraries who is not a library staff member by profession. An individual who demonstrated consistent and prolonged support of library service in Washington, and/or promoted legislative action, and/or participated in statewide committee work and other library activities.

Merit Awards

  • Outstanding Service Award: Recognizes outstanding contributions by an individual or group involved in improvement to library services, advances in the profession, advocacy for libraries, service to colleagues, or other outstanding work on behalf of libraries.
  • Volunteer Leadership Award: Recognizes individual or group achievement in support of library service, contributed by one or more members of a Trustees, Friends, Foundation, or other volunteer group.
  • Candace Morgan Intellectual Freedom AwardHonoring the lifetime contributions of Candace Morgan in support of Intellectual Freedom and the Library Bill of Rights, this award goes to an individual, or group for their efforts to defend, champion, support and/or educate others about Intellectual Freedom in Washington State.
  • WLA President’s Award: To be given at the discretion of the current or acting President to reward.

Division and Section Awards

School Library Division

  • Calls for School Library Division award nominations will be made in Spring 2022. Check back in the spring for a list of awards. Please note: School library workers and volunteers are still eligible to be nominated for the Fall 2021 WLA Merit Awards.


  • CAYAS Visionary Service AwardRecognizes an individual who, through practice and example, provides inspiration and leadership for others who serve children and young adults in libraries. May work in a public, school or special library. May acknowledge cumulated efforts over several years in the field of library service to youth, or may be a singular and exceptional effort that sets new standards for practice. This award will bring attention to the remarkable and tireless efforts of all individuals who work with young people in libraries.


  • WALE Outstanding Employee Award: Recognizes a member of WALE who has made significant contributions to or accomplishments in the library field. May recognize an innovative project or activity for a specific library in Washington or a support staff organization.  Project and activities should directly involve support staff working in libraries or information centers and will have had an impact on the status and work of support staff.  Individual has been active in WALE serving on a committee or in another leadership capacity.
The American Library Association (ALA) offers more awards, grants, and scholarships.