WLA Merit Awards

2020 WLA Award Winners Announced

On behalf of the 2020 WLA Awards Committee, we're honored to award the following Merit Awards to the recipients below for their commitment to Washington libraries.

Honorary Lifetime Membership: State Senator Marko Liias
- Nominated by the WLA Legislative Committee

Outstanding Performance: David Wyatt and Marshall Shapiro, Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries
- Nominated by Sam Wallin

CAYAS Visionary Award: Jennifer Carter, King County Library System
- Nominated by Kristin Edwards

Award winners will be recognized at the Awards Lunch on Thursday, October 8, 12:15-1:15pm during the 2020 WLA Virtual Conference.   
You may have noticed that many of the WLA Awards, including the School Library Division and WALE Outstanding Employee Awards are not listed. Due to the unprecedented time that is 2020, we did not get as many nominations as in years past.
Regardless of the number of nominations, WLA wants to recognize the incredible work you have all been doing for your communities as we’ve been dealing with COVID-19.

You’ve done virtual story-times and programs, curbside pick-up, embedded yourselves in classrooms, continued book-clubs, performed countless hours of online and chat reference, personally called your patrons to see how they’re doing, and much, much more.

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.

Each year, WLA recognizes outstanding members from all types of libraries with the WLA Merit Awards.

Do you know any amazing library professionals, advocates, students, or groups that deserve to be recognized for their support of or contributions to libraries in Washington? Of course you do!

Nominate a colleague today for one of the following awards:

  • Emeritus Membership(s)
  • Honorary Membership(s)
  • Advances in Library Services Award
  • Outstanding Performance Award
  • Trustee Award
  • Friends/Foundation Award
  • Candace Morgan Intellectual Freedom Award
  • Outstanding Teacher Librarian of the Year Award
  • Superintendent of the Year Award
  • Principal of the Year Award
  • Small District/Private School Administrator of the Year Award
  • Supervisor of the Year Award
  • CAYAS Visionary Service Award
  • WALE Outstanding Employee Award

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

  • Advances in Library Services: Recognizes outstanding contributions by an individual who has been instrumental in improving library services. A member of WLA, currently working in Washington, whose personal efforts have increased library services to underserved areas or populations, providing access to information not previously available.
  • Outstanding Performance: Recognizes an individual who has performed outstanding work for libraries.  A member of WLA, currently working in Washington whose outstanding work in the area of public relations; technical services; rural librarianship; library instruction, digital inclusion, outreach services; support service; facilities; library education; promoting library values or other areas of library service.
  • Trustee AwardRecognizes individual or group achievement by a Trustee/s for advancement of library services through the development of sound library policies or for wisdom, sound judgment and creative ideas in instituting library practices which have improved library services and efficiency.
  • Friends/Foundation AwardRecognizes a Friends group or Foundation for effective advocacy of the library community; bringing its services and possibilities to the attention of the community and its leaders. Acknowledges their interest and contributions provided in support of library service.
  • 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. Examples are performance, innovation, or outstanding service.

Division and Section Awards

School Library Division

  • Outstanding Teacher Librarian of the Year Award: To be annually awarded to an active member of the School Library Division currently practicing in a K–12 school library position. Award recipient shall receive a $500 voucher from Follett towards the purchase of library materials on Titlewave.com.
  • Superintendent of the Year Award: To be annually awarded to a school superintendent who has demonstrated a noteworthy commitment to school libraries.
  • Principal of the Year Award: To be annually awarded to a school principal who has demonstrated a notable commitment to school libraries.
  • Small District/Private School Administrator of the Year Award: To be annually awarded to an administrator in a small or private school who has demonstrated a noteworthy commitment to school libraries.
  • Supervisor of the Year Award: To be annually awarded to a library supervisor who has demonstrated a notable commitment to school libraries.


  • 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.