2019 FLA Award Recipients

Overall Achievement 

Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Barbara Stites, Interim Dean
Florida Gulf Coast University

The library career of Dr. Barbara Stites began in 1985 and during her thirty-four years of service to Florida she has established a distinguished record of professional achievements and accomplishments. She has a unique experience with the broad scope of her experience with all types of libraries and professional associations including administration of two multitype Library Cooperatives (TBLC) and (SWFLN.) Her service, publications, mentoring, teaching and professional contributions have been exemplary in advancing the stature of libraries in Florida. She has been active in FLA for many years and has served as FLA President.

Dr. Stites has been responsible for forty grants totaling over four million dollars that were funded to implement innovative projects and develop significant changes for library services in Florida. The majority of these grants were designed to develop projects that would serve many libraries in a region and often with implications state-wide. Barbara has also been facilitator for a variety strategic planning sessions which focus on the future and innovative services. Her doctoral research on continuing education was innovative and in addition to her national and state publications, she has made presentations and implemented various teaching and training. By promoting innovation and participating in implementation of innovative ideas she has contributed to advancement of significant change of Florida’s libraries and has been committed to supporting the next wave of library leaders and the next generation of librarians.

Library of the Year

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

In 2018 Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library (THPL) reorganized its staffing model and eliminated overdue fines, yielding $1 million in savings while increasing access to library resources and expanding opportunities for community engagement through unique, scalable programs. THPL welcomed back 15,000 customers previously unable to use library resources, and annual circulation of print materials increased for the first time in a decade. THPL’s programs and initiatives have been recognized by Library Journal, the Urban Libraries Council, Ingram, and OverDrive, and shared widely on social media and by local news outlets including WFLA, WTTA, ABC Action News, and the Tampa Bay Times.

Librarian of the Year 

Kelvin Watson, Director
Broward County Public Library 

Innovative and inclusive, Kelvin Watson is an inspiring and visionary leader who has implemented a wide range of groundbreaking library services, programs and initiatives that have dramatically increased the door counts at Broward County Library locations and circulation of library materials. 
Kelvin oversees almost 1,000 employees and 38 library locations. He employs a user-focused approach to leadership that has increased both visibility and usage of the Library’s many services and resources. Since taking the helm less than two years ago, he has significantly increased in-person visits to the library, use of the library’s physical and digital resources and new library card sign-ups. Innovative initiatives launched under his leadership have garnered awards on the state and national level. Hands-on and accessible, Kelvin maintains an open-door policy toward library team members and stakeholders, is visible at library and community events and is an active and valued member of professional and community organizations. Additionally, he creates, nurtures and leverages partnerships that benefit library users and the community.

Outstanding New Librarian

Adam Chang
Citrus County Public Library

Adam Chang’s contributions to the Citrus County Public Library system have had an obvious positive impact on technology classes in both growth and attendance. To date, Adam has developed over 30 new classes that are taught in all five of the county’s library branches as well as to county employees and as a method of outreach to local high schools  

Since earning his MLIS in 2015, he has gone beyond as an instructional and research librarian by developing these new classes, sharing knowledge with regional and state-wide organizations through presentations, attending leadership training, innovative programming, and by writing grants to enhance library offerings. 

He has presented at the Florida Library Association Annual Conference, two conferences held by TBLC, and one held at the American Library Association Annual Conference on the topics of technology, leadership, and career development. He has produced publications for the local newspaper and for the Florida Library Association, and is collaborating with other librarians in writing an upcoming book on technology programming. He has worked extensively with several FLA committees including Scholarship, Leadership and Development, Human Resources, and the Website Taskforce. He is also a member of the New Members Roundtable for the American Library Association and the Chinese American Library Association. Adam has been recognized for his leadership potential both at a state and national level.

Outstanding Paraprofessional

Raychell Harris, Library Assistant II
Palm Beach State College

Library Assistant II Raychell Harris implemented, designed and produced a monthly web show called “In the Stacks.” Her popular three-minute segment, co-hosted by her colleague Kelly Keith, is dedicated to “giving you the inside scoop of the Lake Worth Campus Library for Palm Beach State College.” Raychell, a natural born leader and team player, utilized her technology and communication skills to not only promote professional growth and solidarity among her campuses’ library professionals and support staff, the web show has introduced the library and its services, tools and friendly staff to students who might not ordinarily become library users. Raychell demonstrates her expertise in customer relations, digital literacy, social media and social networking. Her initiative has united library employees and created a fan base of students.

Embodiment of Values and Ideals

Library Innovation

Miami-Dade Public Library System

The Miami-Dade Public Library System’s Technobus provides an invaluable service to the residents throughout Miami-Dade County. In response to the call for the Library to evolve and meet the digital information seeking needs of its residents, the Library created a mobile, innovative solution to meet those needs by bringing technology training and tools directly into the community it serves. The result is that the most disadvantaged have benefited. Seniors are staying connected, adults are finding employment and the youth are preparing to become producers, not only consumers in an increasingly connected world of technology and innovation.
Hesitant new customers quickly overcome their fear as they gradually embrace a world of new concepts and skills. Technobus users do not remain beginners for long. The Library’s Technobus has a high visibility factor. The vehicle’s wrap is a traveling billboard that brings awareness of the Library’s role as a place of digital innovation and learning to all corners of Miami-Dade County.

Maria Chavez-Hernandez “Libraries Change Peoples’ Lives”

Largo Public Library

Largo Public Library’s English Language Learning program began 11 years ago with one on one small group English tutoring. From those early days, the library expanded the program into a robust educational program that includes adult English classes in partnership with Pinellas County Schools, volunteer led Conversation Clubs, Citizenship and Naturalization preparation classes, and for the last two years the Welcoming Week refugee basket drive. Along with this, the library offers Career Online High School as part of the State Library of Florida grant. Roughly half the participants in that program started as English Learning Language program students.

Excellence in a Field of Endeavor

Library Web Presence
Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

HCPLC.org is more than a website – it is the 24/7 online library of Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library where more than 3 million customers each year access the information they need from any device, anywhere, at any time. HCPLC.org was designed with a superior customer experience as its function and goal, and it serves customers who are connected to and engaged with technology while remaining accessible for users of all ages, needs, and 

skill levels. Its pages are modern and simple, yet creative in the use of colors and themes consistent with the organization’s logo and branding. With its thoughtful layout, contemporary design, and intuitive structure, HCPLC.org enhances the online experience for its users and serves as a noteworthy example of effective library web presence.

 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award (Early Learning)

Seminole County Library: Sensory Lab

The Sensory Library Lab is a unique installation that facilitates learning and literacy through activities involving sight, sound, touch and even smell. Featured in Lake Mary Life Magazine and praised by the Central Florida Autism Community group, the lab has been open for 74 sessions that saw 2093 attendees since its debut in June 2018. A significant increase in attendance at Sensory Storytimes since the lab’s debut suggests a possible increase in library usage by children with special needs and their families. Lastly many activities from the Sensory Library Lab will be sent around on a rotating schedule to the Library’s smaller branches this summer, so that even more children can benefit.

Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award (Teens)

Orange County Library System:
Hero Spark After-School Adventures

Hero Spark provides tutoring and gaming programs to 11-18 year olds. Their primary program, After- School Adventures, blends homework help and gaming in a unique way that makes for a fun and engaging after-school experience. The program has resulted in a measurable increase in library use, seeing 12-24 students participating daily. In 2018, students participated in 2900 hours of homework help and face-to- face tabletop gaming, and Hero Spark served 108 unique participants at the Orlando Public Library alone.

Excellence in Marketing and Public Relations

Broward County Library

Broward County Library’s successful marketing/public relations campaign to raise awareness and usage of the library’s electronic resources including music, movies, TV shows and eBooks utilized print collateral pieces, social media and electronic communications to spread the message to the community. The entire campaign was produced and created in-house by library marketing staff. Within a year, circulation statistics for those items increased 38.8%. Exemplary Instructional Programs or Services Instruction & Research Team 
Citrus County Library System.

The Instruction and Research team continually strive to expand and develop creative technology classes that enhance life for all demographics using a wide variety of instructional methods. Curriculum changes have been the key factor in increasing the number of patrons attending the classes as well as allowing them a tactile hands-on experience. They successfully provide an avenue for lifelong learning. The classes are flexible, can be held in any location, and focus on using the patron’s own devices and equipment. The changes positively impacted attendance and feedback; the system has seen an average increase in technology program attendance of 25% each year.

Outstanding Scholarly Contribution

Douglas Crane, Director
Palm Beach County Library System

Douglas Crane’s article, “Efficient Librarianship: A New Path for the Profession” (Public Libraries Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017) explores the intersection between personal productivity and knowledge management practices within the field of librarianship. The article examines how librarians are uniquely suited to be excellent knowledge workers through the combination of librarian skill sets with best productivity and efficiency practices. It further argues that through these skills and practices, the “Efficient Librarian” becomes a powerful consultant and decision maker. In addition to this article, Doug Crane blogs on his “Efficient Librarian” website and conducts related training.

 Outstanding Citizen

Friends, Foundations & Boards Outstanding Member

Sandra Price, Board Member
Friends of Central Ridge Library
Citrus County Library System

Sandra Price has been a vital advocate for the Citrus County Library System since 1996, serving 23 years. She is very engaged with the libraries and inspires others to do the same. The staff are proud to work side by side with her. Her leadership, contributions and accomplishments make Sandy truly deserving of recognition. In addition to leading the bi-annual MegaBook Sales, Sandy was the inspiration and lead behind starting and continuing the “Love Your Library” event, now in its 9th year. Bring together the five Friends of the Library group, she has been instrumental in the event raising over $100,172.

Outstanding Business/Media Partner
WTTA News Channel 8 working with Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library (THPL) 

Tampa Bay news station WTTA Great 38, sister station of NBC affiliate WFLA News Channel 8, has been a champion for library services and an influential media partner for THPL. WTTA features THPL resources on its morning show each month, allowing library staff to guide the topics while showing genuine enthusiasm in each segment. These promotional spots reach thousands of homes in the Tampa Bay area, totaling in-kind value of $20,000 since January 2018. After being highlighted by WTTA, THPL’s HCPLC Music Video received more than 3000 views and their Passport Fair received 156 passport applications from 500 attendees, resulting in $5,500 in library revenue.

Friends, Foundations & Boards 

Outstanding Program Award
Friends of the Murray Hill Library

Friends of the Murray Hill Library (FMHL) planned a dual-purpose event combining the library’s milestone 50th anniversary with the re-dedication/renaming of the branch in honor of the late Bill Brinton (1959 – 2017), one of the library’s staunchest supporters and founder of the FMHL. An active advocacy volunteer group that supports the 21-branch Jacksonville Public Library system and specifically its neighborhood branch in the close-knit Murray Hill area, the FMHL tirelessly planned, researched, and worked closely with library administration, staff, public officials and community sponsors to make the event a fun, inclusive, educational and meaningful experience. The celebration turned out to be a heartfelt tribute that made a powerful and lasting impact on the entire community.

Friends Newsletter of the Year
Friends of the North Miami Library

The BookWorms is a quarterly publication with bright colorful graphics put together by the members of the Friends of the North Miami Library under the direction of Susan Neuman. Each issue includes a message from the Friends president and a message from the Library Director. Hard copies of the newsletter are available at the library and given to members to distribute to community shops, restaurants and other businesses, as well as various city departments. The Friends are ensuring maximum exposure of their activities with this distribution strategy.

Friends Website
Friends of the Boca Raton Public Library

The Friends of the Boca Raton Public Library’s website highlights their independent bookstore, art gallery and book clubs, as well events. The website was designed to promote each of these endeavors, as well as provide information about Board members and other key personnel, and the funding provided to the Boca Raton Public Library. The book club page lists upcoming book club selections, while the art gallery page displays information about the current exhibit and art gallery exhibitor application information. The membership page allows new and returning members to sign up to pay annual dues. The blog postings include volunteer interviews, bookstore information and event news. The website does an excellent job of keeping the community informed about the large variety of activities in which the Friends are involved.