In 2010, VLA President John Moorman gave the Awards and Recognition Committee the following charge: “To examine all awards given by the Virginia Library Association (VLA) and make recommendations on their individual continuance to the VLA Executive Committee by their September 9, 2010, meeting.” As the committee began its review, it was apparent that many members of VLA were not aware of the various awards sponsored by the association and its units. The committee hopes that this article will increase awareness of the VLA Awards and encourage members to submit nominations.

It is that time of year. Winter is upon us; we all prepare for a season of warm fires, hot chocolate, thick coats, and awards. Awards? Yes, awards. Throughout my childhood, my family and I would settle in after a long day of school and homework to watch Hollywood stars cross the red carpet on those nights when the regularly scheduled broadcast was preempted by special programming. Ceremonies for the Grammys, Oscars, and SAG Awards conveyed images of California sunshine and highlighted the importance of celebrating the best performances brought to us by our greatest celebrities. Just being there was an honor, and winning an award was an unparalleled achievement. It meant that the winner had somehow touched on something unique, something magical that would be remembered for a lifetime.

We may not provide a red
carpet, but we honor those
who have brought
distinction to our libraries.

Winter is also the time of year to begin thinking about our own local celebrities, those who have enhanced our professional lives in a manner that exceeds our expectations. The Virginia Library Association, in its many varied committees and subdivisions, bestows awards on individuals, groups, and programs throughout the year. We may not provide a red carpet, but we honor those who have brought distinction to our libraries. So grab a cup of cocoa, curl up by the fireplace, and reflect on the people and programs that have affected your libraries the most during this past year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to honor them with one of the following awards?

Honorary Life Membership

Honorary life membership is conferred on trustees, former trustees, friends of Virginia libraries, or Virginia librarians who have held membership in, and have made outstanding contributions to, the Virginia Library Association. Nominees for life membership are voted on by the VLA membership and are included on the election ballot. Recipients receive the full benefits of membership without dues as well as complimentary registration for the annual conferences.

George Mason Award

The George Mason Award is given as deemed appropriate, but not necessarily as an annual award. It may be presented to an individual librarian; a library; an individual or organization distinguished for advocacy for libraries and/or information access; or an institution, business, or academic program whose activity has contributed to the development, growth, and extension of library and information services in the local, state, or national library community. Speaker A. L. Philpott was the first recipient of the George Mason Award in 1986. The winner receives a plaque presented at the Virginia Library Association Annual Conference.

Trustee Library Award

This award is presented annually in recognition of distinguished service to libraries or a library in Virginia. The trustee honored may have served on the local, state, regional, or national level. Trustee groups of any size will be given equal consideration. The recipient of the Trustee Award receives a plaque at the annual conference.

Friends of the Library Award

This award is presented annually to a Friends of the Library group in recognition of distinguished service to libraries or a library in Virginia. Friends groups of any size will be given equal consideration. Recipients of the Friends Award receive a plaque at the annual conference.

Detailed information and nomination forms for these awards are located on the Awards and Recognition Committee’s website ( The deadline for nominations is April 15. (For 2011 only, the deadline has been extended to May 15.)

In addition to the Virginia Library Association awards, individual units of the association also sponsor several awards:

Virginia Library Association Paraprofessional Forum Outstanding Paraprofessional Award

Launched in 1996 as a means of recognizing excellence among paraprofessionals in Virginia, this award is presented annually at the spring Virginia Library Association Paraprofessional (VLAPF) Conference. The award is given to individuals who have been members of the Virginia Library Association for at least one year, and who demonstrate excellence in their fields of expertise. The individual who receives this award should also be someone who fosters communication among library employees throughout the commonwealth and advances the image of library paraprofessionals.

Virginia Library Association Paraprofessional Forum Award

Established in 1995 through the generosity of Evelyn Kimball, this award is meant to assist someone who is unable to acquire local funding to attend the annual VLAPF conference. Bestowed annually, this award will provide full conference fees to a deserving paraprofessional.

Virginia Library Association Paraprofessional Forum Supporter of Paraprofessionals Award

Established in 1996 as a means of recognizing an individual who has provided significant support to staff members and been a champion for support staff in Virginia libraries. The perfect candidate is one who has been an advocate for continuing education programs and pay increases for library support staff and has encouraged library support staff to excel in the workplace.

Additional information on the VLAPF Awards, nomination deadlines, and contact information can be found on the VLAPF Awards website (

The Jefferson Cup Award

The Jefferson Cup Award, presented since 1983 by the Youth Services Forum, honors a distinguished work of biography, historical fiction, or American history for young people. The Jefferson Cup Committee’s goal is to promote reading about America’s past; to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography, and historical fiction for young people; and to recognize authors in these disciplines. The Jefferson Cup Committee selects the winning title.

Additional information about the Jefferson Cup Award, including the award criteria and nomination form, can be found on the Youth Services website (

Intellectual Freedom Award

Winners of this award are selected by the Intellectual Freedom Committee for the role they play in actively promoting intellectual freedom in their spheres of influence and beyond; on the degree to which they exemplify the spirit of intellectual freedom; and on the impact of their efforts to promote intellectual freedom and challenge censorship. Established in 1993, the award grants the recipient $500 and a plaque presented at the annual conference.

A brief history of the award, as well as additional information and nomination criteria, can be found on the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s website (

Virginia Library Association Presidential Recognition Award

Established in 2009 by then-VLA President John Moorman, the Presidential Citations were created to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the association. To date, these certificates have been presented at the 2009 and 2010 annual conferences and at scheduled VLA Council meetings. Both the VLA Awards and Recognition Committee and the VLA Executive Committee recommended that the practice of presenting Presidential Citations continue beyond President Moorman’s tenure. The number of awards and presentation of the citations will be at the discretion of the current VLA President. VL

Lisa Lee Broughman ( ) is the technical services librarian at Randolph College and the systems administrator for the Lynchburg Information Online Network. She is a member of the Awards and Recognition Committee and served as chair for several years.

Caryl Gray ( ) is retired from the University Libraries, Virginia Tech, and is currently serving as chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee.


Recipients of VLA Awards from 1990–2010

1990 Delegate Robert B. Ball George Mason Regional Library, Salem Public Library, Virginia Beach Public Library, and Boatwright Library (University of Richmond) Jean Mehler, Joyce Phillips, and James McEckron Bertha Winborne Edwards and Jane Lego
1991 Lawrence Reed O’Brien Sr. Waynesboro Public Library and Rappahannock Public Library Cynthia Ghaemmaghami, Valerie Mayo, Eleanor Smith, and Lurlene Willoughby Gladys Caywood, Florence Chandler, Theda Gibson, Martha LeSturgeon, and Sarah Wallace
1992 Buckingham County Library, Charlotte County Library, John McMahon (Newport News Public Library Friends), and West Point Branch of Pamunkey Regional Library and the West Point Literary Club Beverly Bagan, Elizabeth Browning, Ray W. Frantz, Jeanne G. Plitt, William Carter Pollard, Marjorie Tallichet, and Betty Wooldridge
1993 Ida Patton Chesterfield County Library, Fairfax City Regional Library, George Mason Regional Library, and Reston Regional Library Betty Cullota and Andrew McCutcheon Jr.
1994 Theresa Byrd Chesterfield County Library and Williamsburg Regional Library Donald C. Kiscanden Catherine Vaughn
1995 Linda L. Krantz Lynchburg Public Library and Richmond Public Library Jim Gaines
1996 Marjorie Morgan Freeman R. Frank Tobin Beth Askew, Dale W. Brown, and Dean Burgess
1997 Dennis E. Robinson Victoria Public Library Stephen E. Story
1998 Chryssi Maria Dessypris Chesterfield County Library Phylis A. Salak Dennis E. Robinson
1999 Williamsburg Regional Library Virginia Beach Public Library Linda Conti-White Ruth Turner and Becky Laine
2000 Nelson Worley George Mason Regional Library George M. Van Sant
2001 Friends of the Newport News Public Library Marjorie Cooper Terry Sumey
2002 Honorable John H. Chichester Washington County Public Library Carolyn Tate
2003 Linda Hahne Goochland Branch/Pamunkey Regional Library Betty Jane Simpson, Blue Ridge Regional Library
2004 Ann Friedman Richard M. Hamrick, Staunton Public Library
2005 Noreen Bernstein and Looking to Learn Poquoson Public Library George Lyle, Blue Ridge Regional Library George Van Sant
2006 Mr. and Mrs. J. Harwood Cochrane Lynchburg Public Library Barbara Severin, Fauquier County Library Board
2007 Richard F. Andersen Farmville–Prince Edward Community Library Patricia Atherholt, Goochland Branch Library Nolan T. Yelich
2008 Fran Freimarck Virginia Beach Public Library
2009 All Henrico Reads: “Linking Libraries, Communities, and Cultures,” Henrico Public Library and Henrico Public Schools Jefferson-Madison Public Library Larry Yates, Lonesome Pine Regional Library Alan Bernstein
2010 Poquoson Public Library Dr. Joseph Zapotoczny, Augusta County Library Donna Cote