2018 FLA Award Winners

Overall Achievement

Librarian of the Year

Tina Neville, University of South Florida St Petersburg (USFSP)

Throughout her career Tina has shown great innovation, leadership, and service to the Florida library community. At USFSP, she has led efforts to serve the faculty and students, encouraged experimentation, innovation, and ever improve services. She has served the FLA, FACRL, and ALA in many leadership positions. As a researcher, she contributed to scholarly knowledge by co-authoring the book Science and Technology Research which is owned by 214 libraries around the world. She has contributed to other publications. In terms of quality, her achievements are even more impressive; she won the 2015 FLA Research Award and in 2018, the Edward Swanson Best of LRTS Award for articles.

 Lifetime Achievement

Samuel Morrison, Retired Director, Broward Counties Library Division

Samuel F. Morrison’s 31 years as a librarian has had a lasting impact on libraries in Florida. From building libraries for migrant workers to creating invaluable educational and community partnerships that have changed the way libraries are viewed and used by the public and have created meaningful change that continues to make a difference in the lives of Broward County library users and all Broward County citizens. Finally, his tireless work bringing the vision of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center to fruition empowered an entire community and helped Broward County recognize and honor the vital role of African-Americans have played in the culture and history of Broward County and Florida. 

 Library of the Year

Largo Public Library

2017 was a pivotal year for services at the Largo Public Library. A yearlong community celebration of the library’s centennial ended in 2016 and staff got to work on the next chapter in the library's development. A focus on community building, outreach, and partnerships set the tone for the year’s goals and objectives with operational excellence and attentive customer service as a top priority. It is a gathering place for people to gain the help and resources they need to achieve their full potential. Following the Harwood Institute and the ALA "Libraries Transform" program with a commitment to “Turn Outward” toward the community changed the mindset of library staff and over time evolved into greater relevancy in programs and services offered at the library.

 Outstanding New Librarian

Sara White, Youth Services Senior Librarian, Seminole County Public Library

Sara White is extremely active in the professional community (FLA, ALA Emerging Leaders, ALSC, SSLLI), consistently building community partnerships and sharing what she learns.  She presents webinars, conference sessions, and writes for both local and professional publications. Sara produces exceptional work, meets challenges with enthusiasm, and pursues professional development.  Sara creates innovative, replicable programs like Mini Makers Station, Teen Cosplay workshops, and art programs for preschoolers, evidence of her commitment to the library. She has demonstrated significant leadership with her strategic K-12 faculty outreach, Fan Fest 2017, 3D printing at SCPL, and her design of a special-needs-friendly Sensory Library Lab.

Outstanding Paraprofessional

Robert Anstett, Coordinator of Digital Initiatives, Broward County Library

Bob Anstett personifies Broward County Library’s (BLC) mission to provide technological opportunities that provide personal, professional and educational advancement and enrichment.  He teaches audiences of all ages and levels of expertise, providing the community as well as learners nationwide with the opportunity to explore technology. He successfully spearheaded the development and launch of the Creation Station Lab, the first free makerspace in Broward County.  Bob’s efforts have placed BCL as a leader in library makerspaces; he has helped other US libraries create makerspaces. Bob has been instrumental in positioning BCL as a national leader in technology access, particularly in virtual and augmented reality.

 Embodiment of Values and Ideals

Intellectual Freedom Award

InformUs.us Contributors/Advisors, Florida International University Libraries

This group of individuals (17), representing diverse backgrounds and interests, came together and collaborated on the development of InformUs.us, an open source platform that tracks incidents of censorship occurring both inside and outside libraries.  The site supports organizations both in the United States and internationally, that could benefit from its efforts to aggregate and make this information freely available.  The existence of the resource fosters greater public awareness about censorship and related issues and will only grow more robust as incidents more are reported. The developers have attempted to facilitate reporting by providing an option for anonymity as a way to avert retribution.

Library Innovation

Manatee County Library System

Manatee County Public Library is the first library to publish a literary and art journal (805 Lit + Art) that features 100% original works by creators worldwide. 805 publishes high quality art, poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, and the journal has received national attention in both the library and literary worlds. With subscribers from over a dozen different countries, 805 reaches across borders to deliver high quality content to the global community. Affordable support programs and a community volunteer based editorial board make this a truly affordable and replicable project for any library system.

 Maria Chavez-Hernandez “Libraries Change Peoples’ Lives”

Heather Ogilvie, Outreach Librarian, Bay County Public Library

Heather Ogilvie developed the successful “Conversation for Seniors” program.  The program provides services to seniors in assisted living facilities in Bay County unable to access the physical library.  Heather brings a variety of materials and activities including books, word searches, games and conversation starters. The residents then create what they want out of their library visit.  The residents are extremely appreciative for the book delivery service, brain games and lively conversations. Heather goes beyond the traditional book club by building relationships and providing hope, laughter, and life-long learning.  Heather’s ingenuity has helped her develop a fun, energetic program that continues to evolve.

 Excellence in a Field of Endeavor

 Library Web Presence

Collier County Public Library

The Collier County Public Library (CCPL) team, led by director Tanya Williams, updated a website that was already receiving more hits daily than any other county agency.  The new website—simple to use, colorful, attractive, and intuitive—allows users to more easily navigate to the information and resources they seek. It gives the staff greater flexibility in promoting library events.  If the positive patron feedback is any indication, the team’s hard work on the new interface is a total success!

Libraries Mean Business


Manatee County Public Library

In 2017, the Manatee Libraries’ Information Services team provided excellent services and programs benefiting the local business community and jobseekers. These included annual events such as a SCORE Small Business Workshop series, a Small Business Expo in conjunction with Manatee County Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity (REO) Department and a Hiring Fair; business walks in conjunction with REO, SCORE, SBDC, and other interested parties; one-to-one business resource training; group presentations on library business resources in outreach settings; and compilation of resource guides. These efforts, in addition to networking efforts, have resulted in a measurable positive impact in local economic development.

Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award (Early Learning)

Broward County Library’s Active Learning Center

The Active Learning Center (ALC) opened in May 2017.  ALC is a play space that provides developmentally appropriate activities that promote school readiness in children birth to five years old.  The ALC provides a safe, fun, enriching atmosphere filled with toys and activities that children and parents can enjoy and share. Children using the center engage in fun activities that mimic the real world including a playhouse, store, restaurant, school, music shop, train and boat. The ALC philosophy is that play is the work that children do each day and the ACL helps children play their way to school success. 

 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award (Teens)

Seminole County Public Library: STEaM (Seminole Teens Empower and Mentor) sessions

The Seminole County Public Library’s S.T.E.a.M. program broke significant new ground in combating the under-representation of women in STEM fields.  It utilizes a unique teen/tween mentoring model that builds confidence and leadership among older girls, increase the comfort level of the younger girls, and allows all participants to explore and engaging in a wide range of STEM concepts.  Teen girls are provided with leadership training and are then paired with tweens. The pairs tackle projects involving robotics, basic engineering, fiber crafts, circuitry, coding, food crafts, gardening, astronomy, film making, and tinkering.  Featured in a short video as well as two local print publications, S.T.E.a.M. has been recognized as a highly successful, innovative program.

 Excellence in Marketing and Public Relations

Miami-Dade Public Library System

The Miami-Dade Public Library System communications team created and executed an innovative marketing, graphics and public relations campaign to serve their diverse community. Over 1,200 schoolchildren were provided tickets and transportation to their signature event: The Civil Rights Movement: Looking Back, Marching Forward -- An Afternoon with Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell in Miami. Utilizing social media and media advisories, the other 800 free seats were made available to the public via Eventbrite. MDPLS’s team strategically planned for nine months for this “sold-out” event while continuing to service the daily marketing and communications needs of their 50 branch library system.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#sent/162fd144ab442e3f 

 Outstanding Citizen

Friends, Foundations & Boards Outstanding Member

Sharon Coon, Chair, Friends of the Brentwood Library, Jacksonville Public Library

Sharon Coon, founder, organizer, and chair of the Friends of Brentwood Library and Matriarch of the Neighborhood, galvanized Friends’ groups from across Jacksonville to conduct an advocacy campaign that eventually led to the City Council’s approval of one million dollars for library materials and the development of a new library.  Her support of the Brentwood branch dates to 2013, when her appeals to the local community saved the Branch from closing. Under her leadership, the Brentwood Branch has grown into a beehive of activity, establishing local partnerships to provide tutoring, hosting annual workshops and cultural events.

 Outstanding Business/Media Partner

United Way of Northeast Florida working with Jacksonville Public Library

The United Way of Northeast Florida ReadingPals, is an initiative that ensures more Florida voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) students are prepared for kindergarten. Since 2012, Jacksonville Public Library (JPL) has partnered with United Way to help train and recruit volunteers to read books and develop skills in preschoolers; to hold annual book drives at all 21 library locations collecting thousands of books to build the home libraries of the children; and to provide recommended age-appropriate reading lists. In 2017, more than 1,000 new books were donated during the 14 day book drive. Assessments show that children see the most improvement following their ReadingPals involvement.  

 Outstanding Citizen

Ana M. Garcia, City Manager, North Miami Beach

Ana M. Garcia has been variously described as leader, supporter, advocate, and a voice for the library, efforts that have been carried forward from her tenure in southern Miami-Dade County. Once she become city manager of North Miami Beach, her vigorous support of libraries led to funding for additional positions and enhanced programming. Her willingness to invest in the building and its staff allows the library to play a larger role in the community.  They’ve been able to create a STEM lab and host literary and cultural events. Her nominator says, “[s]he motivates us to be our best and bring excellent services to our community.”