WLA Merit Awards

Now Announcing: WLA Merit Award Winners!

The WLA Merit Awards offer the opportunity to recognize and highlight the outstanding work ongoing in Washington libraries. On behalf of the 2024 WLA Awards Committee, we're honored to recognize this year's Merit Awards recipients:

Candace Morgan Intellectual Freedom Award: Neighbors United for Progress
Nominated by Sara Jones

Honorary Lifetime Membership: Steve Hobbs
Nominated by Sara Jones

President's Award: Alki Editorial Committe, 2023
Nominated by Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman

Emeritus Award: Betha Gutsche
Nominated by Steph Harmon on behalf of the WebJunction team at OCLC

Outstanding Service Award: Loly Gomez
Nominated by Haley McNealey

Outstanding Service Award: Anna Trammell
Nominated by Amita Lonial

Outstanding Service Award: Amanda Six
Nominated by Jessica Varang

Outstanding Service Award: Millissa Macomber
Nominated by Anne Booker

Outstanding Service Award: Jessica McClinton Lopez
Nominated by Nancy Henkel

Elementary Teacher-Librarian of the Year: Sarah Logan
Nominated by Cathy Sork & Lisa B. Webb

Elementary Teacher-Librarian of the Year: Jennifer Vega
Nominated by Ryan Grant

Excellence in School Leadership: Michael Christianson
Nominated by Carolyn Olsen

Excellence in School Leadership: Emily Jensen
Nominated by Alicia Rogers

CAYAS Award for Visionary Library Services to Youth: Erin Smith and Mikayla Kittilstved
Nominated by Georgette Rogers

Congratulations to this year's recipients, and thank you to all who participated in the nomination process! Winners will be celebrated on Saturday, March 2 at the WLA Conference Awards Lunch in Spokane.

Nominations for the WLA Merit Awards are now closed. Please tune in soon for our Merit Award Recipients to be announced.

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!

Winners will be notified by February 5, announced in WLA Wednesday on February 7, and celebrated on March 2 at the WLA 2024 Conference in Spokane.

If you have questions or wish to discuss eligibility requirements, please contact the WLA Office at [email protected] or (206) 823-1138

2024 Merit Awards Timeline

Dec. 6, 2023: Call for nominations
Jan. 10, 2024: Nominations due
Feb. 5, 2024: Award winners notified
Feb. 7, 2024: Winners announced in WLA Wednesday
March 2, 2024: Winners recognized at WLA 2024 Conference

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

  • Elementary Teacher-Librarian of the Year: Recognizes a Teacher-Librarian currently practicing in an elementary school library for outstanding service.
  • Secondary Teacher-Librarian of the Year: Recognizes a Teacher-Librarian currently practicing in a secondary school library for outstanding service.
  • School Library Paraprofessional of the Year: Recognizes an paraprofessional currently practicing in a K-12 school library for outstanding service.
  • Excellence in School Leadership Award: Recognizes an administrator, superintendent or school board member(s) who have demonstrated outstanding school library service and/or positive action on behalf of school libraries.
  • School Library Volunteer of the Year: Recognizes individual or group achievement in support of school library service, contributed by one or more members of a Trustees, Friends, Foundation, or other volunteer group.


  • 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.
Carolyn OlsenBetha Gutsche