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California Library Hall of Fame
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About the award | Current year's inductees | Full list of California Library Hall of Fame members

California librarianship has had a rich and fascinating history. From our world-renowned county library systems created in the early 1900s to our dedicated school and public librarians determined to continue serving interned Japanese-American children during World War II, from our academic librarians' fight against McCarthyism in the 1950s to our statewide fight against illiteracy in the 1980s, Californians have been among the first in the library profession to embrace innovation and champion services to all populations.

The California Library Hall of Fame honors the historical significance and lifetime achievements of the many librarians, library workers and supporters who have helped promote and improve library services in California. All members of the library community are invited to nominate individuals who have made an historically significant contribution to the improvement of California libraries over a sustained period of time.

No more than ten nominees are inducted into the Hall of Fame in any given year. Inductees are featured in CLA's online California Library Hall of Fame and honored at the CLA annual conference. The California Library Hall of Fame is coordinated by CLA's Library History Interest Group.

Nomination information for the California Library Hall of Fame.

2020 Hall of Fame Honorees

The California Library Association is honored to announce the 2020 California Library Hall of Fame inductees.

  • Elizabeth Martinez - Co-founded REFORMA in 1971, Director of the Orange County library director (1979 - 90), Director of the Los Angeles Public Library (1990), Executive Director of the American Library Association (1994 - 1997), Director of the Salinas Public Library (2007), Adjunct Faculty for the San José State University School of Information and serves on the library commission of the New Mexico State Library. Other honors include the ALA Equality Award (2013), Hispanic Librarian of the Year (1990), Orange County Women of Achievement Award (1986), and Hispanic Women Recognition Award (1982). In 1996, Martinez was named one of “100 Outstanding Hispanics” by Hispanic Magazine

  • Laura Steffens Suggett (1874-1946) - Laura Steffens served as Chief of California State Library’s new Extension Department (1903 - 1923), founding editor of News Notes of California Libraries, in 1917 was an administer in the new Sutro Library, and in 1924 self-published the highly influential book, The Beginning and the End of the Best Library Service in the World, a fitting tribute to the major outreach services she had developed for the state as well as the nation.

Award Information

Nomination period
The 2020 nomination period is now closed. The nomination process for 2021 will open October 1, 2020.


  • Only individuals, living or deceased, who have worked in and/or advocated on behalf of California libraries may be nominated.
  • The nominee must have made an historically significant and sustained contribution to the improvement of California libraries.
  • CLA membership is not required for those persons being nominated, though they must have played a significant leadership role in California library history.
  • 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 a statement of no more than 500 words in support of their nomination. Selection criteria for induction into the California Library Hall of Fame include:

  • an individual's record of leadership in the California Library Association and/or other statewide library group(s) or institution(s);
  • the historical importance and/or impact of the person's sustained achievement in improving California library services; and
  • the person's contribution to improving library services at the national level.

Further information

  • The California Library Hall of Fame is coordinated by CLA's Library History Interest Group (LHIG).
  • LHIG will consider only those individuals who have been formally nominated for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
  • LHIG reserves the right to induct no-one into the California Library Hall of Fame if qualified candidates are not found.
  • Nominators of successful nominees will be asked to provide a photograph of the inductee to be used on the California Library Hall of Fame website. Content from the nomination form may also be posted on the website.
  • Nominators may nominate more than one candidate for the California Library Hall of Fame, however, a separate nomination form must be submitted for each candidate.
  • Nominations and all supplementary materials must be received by 5:00pm on the submission deadline.
  • If you have questions, please contact Cindy Mediavilla.

2020 California Library Hall of Fame Committee

  • Letitia Bowles, Hemet Public Library
  • Debra Hansen, SJSU iSchool (retired)
  • David McFadden, Southwestern Law School
  • Michelle Meades, Placentia Library District
  • Cindy Mediavilla, Library Consultant (Chair)
  • Kimberlee Wheeler, Butte County Library 

Application period is now closed.