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CLA Member of the Year Award
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Award information | Current award recipient | Past award recipients

CLA Member of the Year Award

The CLA Member of the Year Award recognizes an individual member of the California Library Association for her or his outstanding contributions, leadership and achievements in service to California libraries. The California library community is invited and encouraged to submit nominations for this prestigious award.

CLA's Member of the Year is honored at the CLA annual conference.

Nomination information for the CLA 's Member of the Year.

2019 Award Recipient

Todd Deck, Tehama County Library

Todd Deck is a dedicated library leader who exemplifies the outward-facing, community-orientated vision of California libraries. He has been a California State Library scholarship awardee and a mentor through the Association for Rural and Small Libraries. Todd values the importance of working with partners and neighbors to deliver quality library services to communities, especially in the face of extreme disasters. In 2018, he helped his neighboring communities in Butte County and Shasta County by coordinating services and information resources for fire evacuees from the Camp and the Carr fires. This included adjusting library policies to make sure displaced Californians received full library card privileges and offering an array of library programs around coping with disasters, trauma, and complicated paperwork. He spearheaded a conversation with other library directors on the importance of resources for libraries around disasters and how to handle the after-effects, which later turned into an FY 2019-20 LSTA grant award project.

Todd also initiated a coalition of rural Northern CA librarians for the CA Center for the Book Rural Libraries Tour writing workshops, which yielded an unprecedented virtual meeting of rural librarians and successful writing workshops in hard-to-reach communities. In addition, Todd participated in the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) “Future Ready with the Library” project, which provided much needed support for rural residents just entering adulthood to receive extra help in exploring career options. Whether responding to disasters, connecting his communities, or assessing the changing needs in his library’s jurisdiction, Todd (along with the staff that he leads) has succeeded in maximizing the impact of library services throughout rural California, improving people’s lives and livelihood in the process. His colleagues praise him for his ability to “read his community, ensuring that diverse voices and opinions are represented” and are grateful for “his compassionate leadership and strategic outreach in service of vulnerable California communities.” It is an honor to choose Todd Deck as the 2019 CLA Member of the Year.

(Photo credit: Alexis LeClair)


Award Information 

Nomination period
The 2020 award nomination period is open until June 1, 2020.


  • Nominees must be current members of the association who have held membership for at least three years.  If unsure, please contact the CLA Office for assistance no later than two weeks prior to the deadline.
  • Nominees must be, or must have been, working in a recognized library position or teaching in library education.
  • Elected officials of the Association (president, vice-president, immediate past-president, treasurer, ALA chapter councilor, and Board members) are excluded from consideration during their term of office.
  • Nominators are not required to be CLA members. However, if a nomination is made by a non-member, the nomination must be endorsed by a CLA member. If you need assistance in finding a CLA member to endorse your nomination, please contact the CLA office no later than two weeks prior to the deadline.

How to nominate
Nominators should submit:

  • Evidence of the nominee's significant contribution to the advancement of libraries and librarianship through professional activities. Consideration for selection as Member of the Year includes: distinguished service to the profession; active and innovative leadership in the development of libraries and the improvement of library service; and outstanding contributions in promoting libraries and bringing community, regional, or statewide recognition to libraries. The statement should be specific, should include dates where appropriate, and should not exceed 500 words.
  • At least two, and no more than four, letters of support for the nomination.

Please note: when submitting supplementary files by email, please label your files as follows: MOTY_nominee's last name_document (e.g.: MOTY_smith_letter of rec1).

Nominations should be submitted using the online nomination form below. Supplementary files may be emailed to Holly Macriss.

Further information

  • The CLA Member of the Year Award is coordinated by CLA's Member of the Year Committee.
  • The committee reserves the right not to give an award if a qualified candidate is not found.
  • Nominees are evaluated on the basis of evidence and support presented in the nomination as to the nature and scope of the accomplishments and on the committee's own knowledge of the nominee's qualifications. The committee is not expected to undertake research into the qualification of nominees.
  • Award recipients will be asked to submit a photograph to be used in award publicity.
  • Applications and all supplementary materials must be received by 5:00pm on the submission deadline. Postmarks will not be accepted.
  • If you have questions, please contact Erica Cuyugan, Chair of CLA's Member of the Year Committee.

2019 CLA Member of the Year Award Committee

  • Susan Broman, Los Angeles Public Library
  • Erica Cuyugan, Santa Monica Public Library (Chair)
  • Angelica Fortin, Paso Robles City Library
  • Paymaneh Maghsoudi, Whittier Public Library

Application period will close on June 1, 2020



Please include information about the person you are nominating below.