2017 Texas Library Association Awards

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TLA congratulates all of the individuals, institutions, and projects that were nominated for recognition this year. Hundreds of colleagues, teachers, and librarians worked tirelessly to help students, co-workers, friends, and fellow library workers receive attention and honor for their work.


Librarian of the Year: 
Cynthia Cooksey, Dr. Pablo Perez Elementary in McAllen ISD

Libraries Change Communities: Grand Prairie Public Library System

Lifetime Achievement: Elizabeth Polk, assistant director of library media services for Austin ISD; Patricia Helm Smith, TLA Executive Director

Outstanding Services to Libraries: Audrey Dearing, co-founder and treasurer, Friends of the Pflugerville Library

Wayne Williams Library Project of the Year: Potranco Branch Library, San Antonio Public Library System

Benefactor Award: Jocelyn H. Lee (posthumous) Harris County Public Library; Schaefer Family, San Antonio Public Library

Luminary Society Recognition: Dana and Charles Rooks, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives at the University of Houston.

ALA/TLA Spectrum Scholar: ALA/TLA Spectrum Scholar: Alicia Niwagaba, student, University of Texas at Austin School of Information 


BEST OF SHOW: MLK Celebration, Zula B. Wylie Public Library, Cedar Hill
The Zula B. Wylie Public Library partnered with the Parks and Recreation Department to present the MLK Celebration. More than 200 participants joined the student-led Peace March and sang freedom songs from the Civil Rights era. Community leaders read quotes, and their mayor, Rob Frankie, made a new call for peace in today’s troubled times. The library’s comprehensive marketing campaign for this event is a wonderful example of community engagement and partnership.


  • Advocacy Campaign:  Austin Public Library Volumes radio show
  • Honorable Mention: Texas State Library & Archives Commission Public Libraries ROI study
  • Identity Campaign: San Marcos Public Library logo redesign
  • Honorable Mention: Grand Prairie Public Library rebranding
  • Digital Promotion: Harris County Public Library MILL-E promotion
  • Honorable Mention: Texas Tech Digital Media Studio promotion
  • Printed Promotion (tie):  Baylor New Student stickers; UT San Antonio Survival Guide 
  • Public Relations Campaign (tie):  Plano Artist in Residence; Texas A&M "All are Welcome" campaign 
  • Special Events (tie): Socorro ISD Comic-Con; University of North Texas Escape the Library
  • Advertising:  Amarillo Public Library AMA-CON
  • Honorable Mention: University of North Texas Library Resources
  • Powered Up Libraries Award: Lemon Battery, Wm. J. Clinton Elementary, La Joya ISD, 
  • Honorable Mention: Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library


Christina B. Woll Grant Award:  Bowie Elementary Library, San Marcos, Pricilla Delgado, librarian
The grant is awarded to a Texas public or school library serving children 12 and under that demonstrates  a commitment to providing a collection of quality children's literature.  ($600)

Jeanette and Jim Larson Mystery Grant: Bellaire Public Library 
The grant subsidizes materials’ budget in order to purchase mysteries exclusively. ($500)

Junior Library Guild/ Diversity & Inclusion Committee Conference StipendsCory Eckert, The Post Oak School (Bellaire) and Ashley Taylor, Tyler Public Library. ($750 each)

Siddie Joe Johnson Award: Kathleen Grupe, Birdville ISD

Texas Youth Creators Award (previously Youth Media Awards) Winner of the Bob Bennett Best in Show for 2017: Slayton Pierson’s “Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder” – Margaret Simmons, Librarian, The June Shelton School (Dallas)

Upstart Innovative Programming Award: Andria Amodt Ho as LIRT Devin Zimmerman stipend recipient; Theresa Hefner-Babb, Ed.D. as LIRT Outstanding Service in Library Instruction recipient
The Upstart Innovative Programming Award recognizes libraries that have implemented creative marketing projects to enhance their visibility within their service community.  The Award is sponsored by Demco. The library will receive a $1,000 check and a plaque which will be presented at General Session II.

Walter H. Escue Annual Conference Stipend: Tamera Miller, Arlington Public Library


District 3: Conference Stipends
 - Jackie Cundieff, Llano County Library System; Sandra Guzman, Hutto ISD ($300.00)


CULD Stipend: Breanne Henson
, Texas Woman’s University ($500)

CULD Melody Kelly Support Staff Stipend: Breanne Henson, Texas Woman’s University ($210)

PLD Conference Stipend: Jane Holt, Amarillo Public Library ($400)

TASL MVP Award: Cynthia Alaniz, Coppell ISD
This award is given to those school librarians who show excellence in their virtual presence through several different avenues, including but not limited to Twitter, professional websites, Facebook, school library websites, blogs, Pinterest, and other social media.

TASL MVP Committee Honorable Awards for Excellence: Cari Yount, Northeast ISD; Sara Romine, Woodstone Elementary-Northeast ISD

TASL Scholarships: Katie Aycock, Plano ISD; Amelia Emerhirhi, Texas Woman's University; Sarah Withem Miller, Spring Branch ISD; Denisse Ochoa, Sam Houston State University; and Wenndy Pray, Sharyland ISD ($500 each)

TASL: School Administrator of the Year:  Dr. Bill Chapman, superintendent of Jarrell ISD

TASL Shirley Igo Collaboration Award:  Duff Elementary, Arlington ISD - Stacie Farr, Librarian. Jeannine Deakyne, PTA and Lisa Cravens, PTA President


Library Instruction Round Table
 – Devin Zimmerman Conference Stipend:  Theresa Hefner-Babb, Ed.D.

New Members Round Table Professional Development Grant: Alelya Wheeler, Tyler Public Library

Small Community Libraries Round Table – Small Community Librarian of the Year: Cherie Robinson, Jackson County Memorial Library 
Selection of the Small Community Librarian of the Year focuses on what the nominees do for their community and the betterment of humankind. The award is sponsored with the generous support of the Tocker Foundation.

Small Community Libraries Round Table – Advocate Award: Amanda Page, Buna, TX
SCLRT recognizes this outstanding advocate who went above and beyond to ensure that small community libraries benefit from the best library services available.

Small Community Libraries Round Table – Biblionix Conference Stipend:  John D Hayden, Bonham Public Library

TALL Texans Round Table Standing TALL Award: Susi Grissom, Retired (Dallas ISD)
The Standing TALL award recognizes outstanding leadership. Susi Parks Grissom is highly respected as a teacher and librarian. She is a leader both in the Texas Library Association, where she has worked tirelessly in the school library division and on many round tables and committees, and also in Dallas ISD, developing partnerships with local community organizations and chairing a mentor program for new librarians. She has served on the board of directors for the American Association of School Librarians. She remains a champion of library advocacy. Her career is an ongoing model of leadership and service, always done with grace, humor, and commitment.

Young Adult Round Table – YARI Award: Kristi Hallbauer and Melissa Supak, Harker Heights High School, Killeen ISD for their Super Reader Challenge.  
Through the Super Reader Challenge, students were challenged to read 30 YA novels throughout the school year.  Over 800 YA novels were read by participants.  Thirty-four percent of the participants saw an increase in their STAAR scores. ($500)


2017 J. Frank Dobie Awards

  • Bertha Voyer Memorial Library | Honey Grove, Texas
  • Effie and Wilton Hebert Library | Port Neches, Texas
  • Jennie Trent Dew Library | Goldthwaite, Texas
  • Buna Public Library | Buna, Texas
  • Dimmit County Library | Carrizo Springs, Texas

Texas Book Festival
This year, the Book Festival awarded $100,000 to 44 public libraries.

  1. Abilene Public Library, Mockingbird Branch
  2. Amarillo Public Library
  3. Aransas County Public Library
  4. Arlington Public Library-Southeast Branch Library
  5. Balch Springs Library-Learning Center
  6. Betty Foster Public Library
  7. Carl and Mary Welhausen Library
  8. Castroville Public Library
  9. Chico Public Library
  10. City of Hutto Public Library
  11. Clute Library
  12. Converse Public Library
  13. Cooke County Library
  14. Davis Library
  15. Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memoral Library
  16. Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library
  17. East Bernard Branch Library
  18. El Progreso Memorial Library
  19. Electra Public Library
  20. Ethel L. Whipple Memorial Library
  21. Gaines County Library
  22. Grapevine Public Library
  23. Henderson County Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library
  24. Jonestown Community Library
  25. Judy B. McDonald Public Library
  26. Krum Public Library
  27. Lake Dallas Public Library
  28. Leon Valley Public Library
  29. Little Elm Public Library
  30. Llano County Library System
  31. Longview Public Library
  32. Martin Luther King Jr Library
  33. Medina Community Library
  34. Natalia Veteran’s Memorial Library
  35. Patrick Heath Public Library
  36. Pearland Library
  37. Reeves County Library
  38. Richland Hills Public Library
  39. Salado Public Library
  40. South Waco Library
  41. Tatum Public Library
  42. Taylor Public Library
  43. West Public Library
  44. Wolfe City Public Library

Tocker Foundation Stipends
This year, the Tocker Foundation awarded $40,121 to 24 small community libraries.

  1. Bonham Public Library | John Hayden
  2. Bowie Public Library | Charlcie Wolfe
  3. Burkburnett Library | Pam Miller
  4. Carl & Mary Welhausen Library | Gena Jiral
  5. Crockett County Public Library | Susan Williams
  6. Delta County Public Library | Lydia Toon
  7. Fayette Public Library | Allison Mackenzie
  8. Groesbeck Maffett Memorial Library | Jamie McLean
  9. Howe Community Library | Melissa Atchison
  10. Jennie Trent Dew Library | Sarah Trujillo
  11. Jonestown Community Library | Mona Riscar
  12. Keach Family Library, Nueces County  | Christopher Perez
  13. Kimble County Library | Andrew               Helton
  14. Marble Falls Public Library | Brittany Cavness
  15. Mathis Public Libarary | Kimberly Ovalle
  16. Newton County Public Library | Stephanie Ducote
  17. Onalaska Public Library, City of | Sherry Brecheen
  18. Shallowater School County library | Lisa Pearson
  19. Silverton Public Library | Laura Long
  20. Singletary Memorial Library | Amy Derrington
  21. Spicewood Community Library | Tori Leggett
  22. Van Alstyne Public Library | Jordan Zakarian
  23. West Columbia Public Library | Bobby Edge
  24. Whitesboro Public Library | Lara Blair


Created on May 17, 2017 | Last updated May 22, 2017