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Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy Award
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Award information | Current award recipient | Past award recipients

CLA's Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy Award recognizes a librarian who has demonstrated passion, excellence and dedication in support of adult literacy.

Two awards will be given out in 2018.  The Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy Award recipients will each receive $1,000 and will be honored at the CLA annual conference.

 The award is sponsored by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards and the California Center for the Book.

The California Center for the Book
is a recipient of a local Library of Congress Literacy Award for use in supporting state literacy initiatives. Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program ( furthers the Library's mission by honoring organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad. The awards also encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. They are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy, and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.

Submit your nomination for the Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy Award

2017 Award Recipient

Ned Branch, Blanchard Community Library

Four years ago, when the Blanchard Community Library in Santa Paula, California, found itself in the midst of legal, financial, and administrative difficulties, the Board of Trustees hired Ned Branch to turn around the library.

Previously, he worked in private post-secondary education for 27 years, having been affiliated with institutions in Northern and Southern California and Oregon.  During that time, he also frequently served as a member of accreditation review teams and worked extensively with state education agencies. His experience enabled him to put the library on solid financial foundation and to build a team of dedicated people to provide for the library’s future success. During the most recent school year, he initiated a partnership among the local school district, First Five of California, and the library to provide daytime ESL classes for parents and preschool instruction for children while the parents were in class. The district, First Five, and the library recently agreed to continue the program in the 2017-18 school year.

Last year the Santa Paula Latino Town Hall honored the library with its annual Community Service award, and this year the local Chamber of Commerce designated the library as the 2016 Non-Profit of the Year. Throughout his career, Ned has endeavored to help individuals change their lives for the better through education.  His commitment to adult literacy stems from his belief that literacy changes not only the life of the learner but also the learner’s children and, in turn, their children. 


Award Information

Nomination period
The 2018 award nomination period has closed.


  • The nominee can be a library staff member who has performed one or more of the following services in support of literacy: outreach, programming, advocacy, recruitment, public awareness, collection development, fundraising, other -- you name it!
  • The nominee cannot be a literacy services staff person who already provides direct literacy services.
  • Persons nominated for the award are required to be CLA members.
  • 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.
  • Only one nomination per library jurisdiction is permitted.
  • The OLSL Award is an individual award and a nomination may not be made for a group.

How to nominate
Nominators should submit the following to CLA:

  • A brief description of what the nominee has done to demonstrate passion, excellence, and dedication on behalf of literacy. (Not to exceed 300 words.)
  • Information about the nominee's library background and what the nominee's outstanding qualities are. E.g., how long has s/he worked in libraries and what has been the nature of that work? (Not to exceed 150 words.)
  • Anything else the committee should know about the nominee. (Not to exceed 150 words.)

Further information

  • CLA's Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy Award is coordinated by CLA's Literacy Interest Group.
  • The Literacy Interest Group reserves the right not to give an award if a qualified candidate is not found.
  • Award recipients will be asked to submit a photograph to be used in award publicity.
  • Nominations and all supplementary materials must be received by 5:00pm on the submission deadline. Postmarks will not be accepted.

Submit Your Nomination!

2018 Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy Committee

  • Casandra Issaka, Sacramento Public Library (Co-Chair)
  • Lynn McCormick, Tuolumne County Library
  • Sabrina Rosengren, Sacramento Public Library (Co-Chair)
  • Bev Schwartzerg, Santa Barbara Public Library
  • Carrie Scott, Carlsbad City Library
  • Erica Ann Watson, Charter College
  • Cherall Weiss, Newport Beach Public Library