Library of the Year
Miami-Dade Public Library System

The Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), located in Miami-Dade County, serves approximately 2.7 million people across 1,921 square miles. It is the place where a cultural collision of communities and residents look for a range of services that include assistance with housing insecurity, tutoring, small business development, and a host of other educational, cultural, and recreational services aimed at helping them become their best selves. The Miami-Dade Public Library System is a community leader, and its extensive portfolio of programs and services include initiatives such as the Community Connectivity Mobile Device Lending Program, which works to bridge the digital divide by providing internet-enabled devices to lower-income residents, families that may not own a computer or have access to a device, and residents whose device or internet connection is insufficient for work or school. They have developed core services such as the Social Services in Libraries Program, through which access to social workers is provided to assist patrons with housing, food stamps, immigration advice, employment/resume help, and more. The library has become a lifeline for those navigating life’s complexities. The Miami-Dade Public Library System is a place where knowledge thrives, connections flourish, and hope abounds. It is a catalyst for transformation, empowering individuals to rewrite their narratives, one chapter at a time.

Administrator of the Year
Allison Grubbs

As a leader and librarian, Broward County Library’s Allison Grubbs has displayed courage and conviction in upholding the library profession’s highest service goals of protecting and defending the right of all persons to read, learn, know, and share. She spearheaded the library’s “Freedom to Read” initiative in response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law limiting access to materials and information. This multi-pronged effort included providing access to banned or challenged tiles via Book Sanctuaries, the creation of designated areas in all 37 Broward County Library locations where endangered books are protected and made accessible, inclusive programming representing BIPOC/LGTRBQIA+ experiences, a public awareness campaign; the elimination of late fees and other barriers to library access; and the distribution of “I Read Banned Books” library cards and buttons. Ms. Grubbs is committed to engaging with the communities that Broward County Library serves. She is a regular attendee at library programs and events and hosts her own “Director’s Book Club,”  A tireless advocate for access, Allison Grubbs is an outstanding library administrator and an exemplary candidate for FLA’s Administrator of the Year award.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Gene Coppola

Gene Coppola’s work has tremendously impacted libraries (including the state library), associations, consortiums, cooperatives, chambers, communities, local groups and schools, seasoned professionals, and rising leaders. His leadership in the Sunshine State spanned a decade in Pasco County and over two decades in Palm Harbor. As the Director of the Palm Harbor Library, he executed renovations, created unique programs and spaces, showed indelible resourcefulness and resilience, and demonstrated what can be achieved with devoted staff and volunteers. He has been on multiple committees for the Florida Library Association (FLA), served on the executive board as Vice President and President, and facilitated member groups (including Florida public library directors and FLA past presidents). Gene’s kindness, mentorship, and unfailing support of others are all just a tiny part of his legacy that will endure for many years to come. 

Outstanding New Librarian
Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones, Librarian 1, has exhibited exceptional resourcefulness, creativity, leadership, and dedication in serving the community at the Naranja Branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library System. He has also helped advance the library system by participating in professional committees and leadership in staff training efforts. He has identified the diverse needs of patrons, ranging from opportunities for STEAM education to assistance with accessing social services and health and wellness resources. He established two highly successful programs for tweens and teens. All Hands on Tech is a science and technology program focused on open-ended, intergenerational, play-based STEAM engagement. The Teen Library Advisory Committee (TLAC) is pivotal in shaping the branch's collection development and program prioritization for teenagers and supporting other aspects of library operations. Through his strategic design and implementation of novel approaches to meeting these diverse needs, along with his ability to cultivate new sources of financial and other support, Daniel Jones has consistently demonstrated his commitment to librarianship and enhancing community welfare.

Outstanding Paraprofessional
Chandra Thornton

Chandra Thornton, a Library Associate at the Palm Beach County Library System, embodies the essence of the Outstanding Paraprofessional Award through her unwavering commitment to professional growth, dedicated support for library members and staff, and exceptional performance in her role. Over her 15-year tenure, she has been integral to the Talking Books for the Visually Impaired program, extending her expertise beyond library boundaries to collaborate with the National Library Service of the Library of Congress.

Thornton actively fosters professional development by assuming leadership roles, such as her presidency of the KLAS Users Group, facilitating conferences, and participating in committees dedicated to workplace culture improvement. She consistently seeks avenues for better service and partnerships, offering personalized technology training and conducting community outreach to visually impaired individuals.

Her innovative initiatives, including a Talking Books Theater movie experience, have earned national recognition and multiple awards. Thornton's dedication and passion make her an invaluable asset to both her local library system and the broader community of visually impaired library users. Her commitment to excellence and continuous improvement sets a standard for paraprofessionals nationwide.

Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award - Children
Joseph Dellosa and Jazmin Jimenez

Joseph Dellosa, former Children and Teen Services Library Specialist of South Bay Library, and Jazmin Jimenez, Library Associate, developed an outstandingly successful virtual program and reached a total combined live participation of 7,959 people across 46 schools in a year and a half.  STORYTIMES TOGETHER is a series of immensely popular virtual storytimes created, produced, and presented by Dellosa and Jimenez. The series introduced thousands of children and teachers to library storytimes bringing young people from throughout Palm Beach County to share in the joy of reading together. Teachers praised the series as well as Dellosa and Jimenez for strengthening the connection between the public library and elementary schools during a challenging time for Florida school libraries

Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award - Teen
Sara White

Sara White, Youth Services Senior Librarian for Seminole County Public Library, orchestrated a series of five cosplay workshops for Teens as well as an End-of-Summer Teen Costume Party & Hangout event. White is recognized for this award for the success and popularity of the series. White coordinated with four local cosplay experts to facilitate each workshop. Teens use cosplay to engage with their favorite fandoms, and this series attracted an unprecedented level of participation compared to any other teen program the library system had held. During the workshop teens learned unique, DIY costuming skills associated with cosplay from expert instructors. The workshop series encouraged manga and graphic novel checkouts from the library, along with teens’ continued practice of new skills within the library and friendships built among each other. Lake Mary Life magazine featured the series and promoted the End-of-Summer Teen Costume Party & Hangout event. Its success may indicate a teen demand for additional cosplay opportunities or costuming meetups and the series can be easily adapted for any library.




Intellectual Freedom
Broward County Library

In 2023, Broward County Library (BCL) demonstrated exceptional commitment to intellectual freedom through various initiatives despite challenges from local officials. BCL, under Director Allison Grubbs's leadership, launched a "Freedom to Read'' campaign during National Library Week, distributing "I Read Banned Books” materials and creating Book Sanctuaries for challenged books. This was in response to a rise in attempted book bans, particularly in Florida. The library eliminated fines to ensure equitable access to materials and heavily promoted this policy. Book Sanctuaries, both physical and virtual, provided access to challenged books and hosted related events. BCL received support from Broward County officials and garnered extensive media coverage, amplifying awareness of intellectual freedom issues. Staff also produced Banned Books Week videos. The impact of BCL's efforts was significant, evident in heightened public awareness and media attention. The library's proactive stance exemplifies its dedication to defending the public's right to read in Broward County and beyond.


Excellence in Marketing and Public Relations
Miami-Dade Public Library System

Knowing that libraries help transform lives and strengthen communities, the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) planned, developed and executed its annual campaign with the objective of encouraging Miami-Dade County residents to sign up for library cards, while reminding current cardholders of the immense value their cards hold.  Their goal each year is to surpass the number of registrations from the previous September. The goal in 2023 was to increase sign-ups by at least 10 percent compared to September 2022, which saw 8,307 registrations. 

To achieve this, the MDPLS marketing and graphics team identified innovative strategies to create a new multi-faceted campaign and developed a media plan within our allocated budget three months in advance to ensure optimal results in reaching our diverse and multicultural community, with materials produced in English, Spanish and Creole. 

Their library tagline, Take Your Story Further, provided the framework for the messaging included in their expansive trilingual marketing campaign. They utilized paid strategies and non-paid marketing tools and tactics.  The result of our comprehensive marketing campaign not only met our goal of increasing library card sign-ups by 10 percent from the previous year but surpassed it. In September 2023, we registered 10,058 new MDPLS cardholders, a remarkable 21 percent increase over September 2022.

Library Innovation
Michelle Mosley

Michelle Mosley, Adult Services Programming Coordinator for Osceola Library System, turned around the pandemic’s negative impact on programming through a unique series, The Walking Library and enhanced programming possibilities through ingenuity and creativity. The replicable program fostered community partnerships and positive recognition by serving the entire community in places they are excited to visit bridging history and the outdoors in locations such as local cemeteries, a 54-minute walk in honor of civil rights activist Diane Nash, and history walks featuring ghost stories and local folklore. Mosley discovered the needs of the community and creatively developed partnerships that are intellectually engaging, builds awareness, and healthy lifestyles. Each individual event has been a huge success, allowing the library to serve the community in a new, innovative, immersive way. The series was selected as a poster presentation for 2023 FLA Conference and 2023 ALA Conference. 


Library Web Presence
Citrus County Library System


The Citrus County Library System website was meticulously crafted by an in-house web development team. Comprising three staff members with prior experience in web and marketing, this dedicated team worked tirelessly to design, test, and create the new Citrus Libraries website. Despite their regular day-to-day responsibilities, they completed the project entirely in-house over a span of nine months, culminating in the public launch in August 2021. Drawing inspiration from library websites across the state and country, they ensured that the new website implemented best practices and maintained a user-friendly approach. Since its launch, the website continues to be meticulously maintained by the same web development team, providing daily updates to keep pace with current technological standards. It streamlines access for the public and staff, offering news, community information, and resources—all at the click of a button.


Maria Chavez-Hernandez "Libraries Change Peoples' Lives"
Alyssa Rudinsky

Associate Librarian Alyssa Rudinsky is recognized for her remarkable contributions to the Mandel Public Library and the City of West Palm Beach, particularly in serving its diverse and economically challenged community. Since joining in June 2021, Rudinsky has demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering individuals through education and career programs, notably managing the library's Career Online High School (COHS) program. Her dedication has resulted in numerous adults earning high school diplomas, positively impacting their lives and inspiring future generations. One new graduate said, “I have a future because of you!” Rudinsky's innovation is evident in expanding resume assistance programs and launching new initiatives like ESOL: English for the Workplace. She has also spearheaded large-scale events, such as job fairs and community marketplaces, attracting significant participation. Through building community partnerships and focusing on sustainability efforts, Rudinsky has ensured the continuity and success of these programs at minimal cost to the library. Her efforts highlight the transformative role of libraries in fostering personal and professional growth within communities. 

Outstanding Citizen
Debbie Selsavage, Coping with Dementia

Debbie Selsavage, the deserving recipient of the Florida Library Association’s Outstanding Citizen Award, stands as a beacon of unwavering dedication. Her tireless commitment to assisting those affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in Citrus County and beyond, coupled with her compassionate care and support for families and caregivers, is nothing short of remarkable. For well over a decade, Debbie has collaborated with libraries in Citrus County, leaving an indelible impact. Through her organization, Coping with Dementia, LLC, she provides annual training for libraries and library staff, enabling them to become certified as Dementia Friendly sites. Remarkably, this training and information are offered at no cost. Debbie’s giving spirit and boundless enthusiasm ensure that library staff are better equipped to assist those experiencing memory loss. Across Citrus Libraries, as well as in Marion and Sumter, Debbie hosts numerous public workshops, providing vital information and assistance to those in need. She also facilitates support group meetings, both in person and virtually, supports the distribution of scent kits at libraries, and has generously donated countless books and other valuable resources. Debbie’s unwavering dedication inspires hope, resilience, and a profound sense of purpose in everyone fortunate enough to cross her path. 

Outstanding Business or Media Partner
ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Lions, tigers, and books? Oh yes! ZooTampa has supported the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library (THPL) for six years through a common goal of promoting literacy and Florida wildlife. ZooTampa and THPL partnered to deliver in-person and virtual educational programming for kids and families. These programs highlight early literacy in conjunction with animal education and exposure. A dedicated sponsor of THPL’s Summer Reading Program, ZooTampa has generously provided over 500 free entry passes to encourage participation and allow residents to visit the zoo, some for the very first time. ZooTampa has consistently promoted THPL to its over 1 million annual visitors, and guests will find THPL materials far and wide. Additionally, ZooTampa promotes THPL’s Summer Reading Program at the Zoo and online to its 217,000 followers on social media. This partnership helps to entice new participants to discover a love of reading over the summer. All these promotional materials encourage visitors to check out the library to enrich their zoo experience further.


Friends, Foundations, and Boards Special Projects
Friends of the Orange County Library System

 The Friends of the Orange County Library System have a history of supporting the Orange County Library System (OCLS) to enrich the lives of residents and foster community connections. In 2023, the OCLS marked its centennial with a year-long series of events. The Friends of the Orange County Library System (Friends) generously pledged $50,000 to sponsor a signature event, allowing OCLS to seek out high-profile authors. This support enabled OCLS to host acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman and Art Spiegelman in Orlando for an engaging discussion on topics relevant to the local community. Gaiman and Spiegelman's stance against censorship struck a chord amid Florida's ongoing debates on book bans. The event swiftly sold out, all 1603 tickets, indicating strong community interest in meaningful dialogue. Its success, evident through social media acclaim and increased Friends memberships, emphasized the vital role of libraries in fostering community connections. The Friends' sponsorship demonstrated their dedication to enhancing OCLS programs, setting a high standard for future events.


Friends, Foundations, and Boards Outstanding Member
Kimberly Doyle, 

Kimberly Doyle’s extensive educational knowledge, teaching abilities, and dedication to the Palm Beach County Library’s Adult Literacy Project make her indispensable to the Library Literacy Friends and the Palm Beach County Library System. Over the past fourteen years, Kim has facilitated tutor training, roundtables, and provided ongoing support through workshops and articles, ensuring that the resources offered remain up-to-date and relevant. Her adaptability and commitment contribute to the excellence of both the Adult Literacy Program and the Library Literacy Friends Board for the Palm Beach County community.