Committee Spotlight - Awards Committee

Awards Committee

January 7, 2021

The ILA Awards Committee is a group of volunteers committed to celebrating and increasing awareness of the excellent work, outstanding achievements, and all-around awesomeness of Illinois’s library professionals.  The committee’s main functions include publicizing the association’s various awards to attract a diverse pool of eligible candidates; selecting winners for association-wide awards and communicating with the forums who select winners for their associated awards; and finally recognizing all award recipients in ILA media and at an Awards Ceremony held in conjunction with the Annual Conference.  The most rewarding part of committee membership?  Hands-down, it’s the firsthand look at all the amazing work being done by library staff around the state!  All the work we do is to recognize this excellence and encourage it to continue!

Of course, 2020 catalyzed innovation and change among the committee’s “traditional” tasks and practices.  One change included planning and executing our first ever virtual awards ceremony via Zoom in place of the usual Awards Luncheon.  We hope that – despite its inevitable glitches – this virtual event still made the 2020 award winners feel special and celebrated (safely), as they truly are!

Another project that the Awards Committee is proudly spearheading this year is a comprehensive audit of the association’s awards, aimed at adjusting the titles of some awards and clarifying their criteria so as to make the awards’ purpose more easily identifiable.  Ideally, this will help make it easier for nominators to distinguish which award is the best fit for their candidate, and in doing so, encourage a wider, more diverse pool of potential winners.  Due to the number of awards and forums involved in this multifaceted audit, changes resulting from this project will take effect in the 2022 awards cycle.

For indeed, the 2021 awards cycle is already upon us!  Award nominations officially open on January 11, 2021!  So, please take a moment to reflect on the inspiring, innovative work you and your colleagues are doing in this most unique of times, and consider crafting a nomination for one of the many awards and recognition programs available through ILA.  While the names and criteria may not be as clear now as they will hopefully be in future, the Awards Committee is happy to answer any questions that you may have now and always!

This spotlight was written by Awards Committee Chair Jamie Jones. Jamie is the manager of the Peoria Public Library North Branch.

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