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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.

2019 Hall of Fame Honorees

The California Library Association is honored to announce the 2019 California Library Hall of Fame inductees.

  • Chuck Ashton (1948-2019) - Youth services manager at Redwood City Public Library, served on ALA’s Caldecott and School Age Programs and Service Committee as well as CLA’s Beatty Award Committee, was known for his popular Families for Literacy storyhours and as a result was awarded CLA’s first Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy award (2003).

  • Luis Herrera - Retired director of San Francisco Public Library (2005-2018), Pasadena Public Library director, president of CLA (1993), Public Library Association (2003-2004), and REFORMA (1982-1983), founding board member of the Digital Public Library of America, appointed in 2012 to the Institute of Museum and Library Services board by president Barack Obama, and Library Journal Librarian of the Year (2012).

  • Susan Hildreth - Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (2011-2015), State Librarian of California (2004-2009), San Francisco Public Library director (2001-2004), California Library Association president (2004), and, though now retired, currently serves as an Aspen Institute fellow.

  • Gary Kurutz - Special collections librarian emeritus for the California State Library, key figure in planning the recent remodel of the State Library’s Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, lecturer for UCLA’s California Rare Book School, author and editor of the California State Library Foundation Bulletin, and library history speaker extraordinaire.

  • Dorothea NelsonSecond city librarian for the Santa Maria Public Library (1934-1968), oversaw construction of a new library in 1941 and subsequent remodels, worked tirelessly to revamp Santa Barbara County Library service zones, and served as the first president of CLA’s Black Gold District (1963).

  • Virginia A. Walter - Former chair of and now professor emerita at UCLA Department of Information Studies, president of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) (2000-2001), ALA representative to International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) standing committees on Libraries for Children and Young People (2001-2005) and Reading and Literacy (2007-2011), author and contributor to sixteen monographs, and mentor to hundreds of children’s librarians.

  • Binnie Tate Wilkin - Professional storyteller and library consultant, one of the first African-American librarians to teach as adjunct faculty for several library schools including UCLA and UC Berkeley, honored by both the California Black Librarians Caucus and Black Caucus of ALA, and author of African American Librarians of the Far West: Pioneers and Trailblazers (2006).

Award Information

Nomination period
The 2020 nomination period is now closed. The nomination process for 2021 will open September 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.