Awards/Grants Committee

The Awards/Grants Committee provides information on the awards sponsored by WLA, determines which awards should be presented during a given year, encourages and solicits award applications, selects recipients for the awards, and arranges for the formal presentation of awards at the annual conference. The committee encourages and solicits applications for and awards the Nora Van Burgh Development Grants and the Debbie Iverson MPLA Scholarship, and solicits nominations for ALA and MPLA awards.

The committee consists of a chair and at least four members who are representative of the various types of libraries and geographic areas within the state. Members serve for two years, with at least two new members being appointed each year.


Chair Angela Wolff (2020-2022)
Laramie County Library System

(307) 634-3561

Alan Vaughn
Sweetwater County Library System
(307) 875-3615

Chelsie Troutman
Natrona County Library
(307) 577-7323

Libby Ngo
Casper College Goodstein Foundation Library
(307) 268-2367

Nicholle Gerharter (2021-2023)
Park County Library
(307) 527-1880

Travis Pollok
Wyoming State Library
(307) 777-8936


2014 2015 2016 ▪ 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

Nomination Forms for 2022

Nominations are due August 1, 2022

2021 Award Winners

Lifetime Achievement
Michelle Havenga, Sheridan Fulmer County Library
For a 40-year career of community partnership and service to children and families at the Sheridan Fulmer Library. Nominated by Cameron Duff.

Nora Van Burgh Development Grant
DeeAnna Waters, Fairview Elementary

Outstanding Hero
Jana Pastor, Rock Springs
For designing, raising funds, and recruiting volunteers to create the Children’s Discovery Center at the Rock Springs Library. Nominated by Lindsey Travis.

Outstanding Librarian
Rachael Svoboda, Laramie County Library System
For developing the Library 2 Business program throughout the state, her work with Wyoming Library Leadership Institute (WLLI), and everyday work with patrons. Nominated by Carey Hartmann, Jeff Collins, Elizabeth Thorson, Steve Rzasa, Tekla Slider, Darcy Acord, Jacque Strike, Johanna Tuttle, and Chris Van Burgh.

Outstanding Library
Wyoming State Library
For responsiveness and leadership during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nominated by Lisa Scroggins.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes the achievements and accomplishments of a library employee throughout their library career, including service to the public and/or library community. It is also meant to reflect the goals of the Wyoming Library Association and the library profession as a whole.

Nomination Questions & Criteria

  • Significant contributions to the nominee’s library and local surrounding community throughout their career.

  • Nominee should have been employed in a library setting for decades, regardless of system, and/or a significant time period reflective of this level of service.

  • Original and innovative planning, thinking, and using resources throughout their career for special projects and/or programs.
  • Advocating the library’s role and position of importance in the community.
  • Additional comments and supporting documentation (optional; maximum of three pages).
  • Nominee in memoriam and/or one who is retiring will be considered.

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Nora Van Burgh Development Grant

Nora Van Burgh began her career in Wyoming libraries as a student assistant in the Natrona County High School Library. She received her Master's of Library Science degree from the University of Oregon in 1978 and was employed at Casper College for many years. A strong believer in lifelong learning, she served on the Wyoming Library Association's Continuing Education Committee. WLA created the Professional Development Grants in 1985 and changed the award name in 1991 to honor her memory.

The WLA Executive Board has established a program to provide funding assistance to those who wish to enhance their effectiveness as library employees through additional educational experience. Non-degreed library employees, a majority of the WLA membership, are particularly encouraged to apply, though any current member of WLA may apply.

Application Criteria
The applicant must have been a member of the Wyoming Library Association for at least two years, be a resident of Wyoming, and be employed in a Wyoming library.

Nomination form for Nora Van Burgh Development Grant (not active until nomination time)

Grant Conditions

  • The monies available for grants will be determined during each budget session of the WLA Executive Board. Typically, no more than $1,000 in grants are awarded in one year.
  • Individuals may apply for grants for continuing education activities, workshops, seminars, exchanges, and conferences, as well as for appropriate college and university courses which can be shown to relate directly to one's effectiveness in a library position.
  • Deadline for applications is June 15. Applications may be to support a projected activity or for reimbursement of an activity occurring since July 1 of the previous year.
  • All money will be awarded at the discretion of the Awards/Grants Committee.
  • An individual who receives a grant may not apply again for three years.
  • In order to share the information and experience with the general membership, a written report is required of all grantees, with the understanding that the committee may request an appropriate oral or visual presentation at the WLA annual conference or other place deemed by the committee to be appropriate. The report must be submitted or made available for use by the Awards/Grants Committee within six months of the completion of the event.
  • Should the conditions of the grant not be met, no further consideration will be given to that individual for any grant or association recommendation.
Selection Criteria
  • The grant request meets stated guidelines.
  • The applicant's goal(s) are clearly stated, including anticipated benefits for personal growth and for the library. (25 points)
  • The amount requested is appropriate, reasonable, adequate, and justifiable to support the stated goals. (25 points)
  • The applicant states measures to determine success and effectiveness of the project. (25 points)
  • The effort includes a plan to publicize the grant. (10 points)

Outstanding Hero/Heroine Award

The Outstanding Hero/Heroine award provides an opportunity for WLA to recognize an outstanding person or group whose hard work has made a difference to a Wyoming library within the last two years.

Nomination Criteria

  • A specific individual, company, or group from the community who provided general support of a library or library project.
  • A community supporter, volunteer, employee of the library, elected official, financial benefactor, or other individual.
  • An individual or group that has performed outstanding volunteer service for a library.

Nomination Questions

  • Who is this person or group?
  • In what way are they exceptional?
  • What specifically did this person or group do?
  • How did the library benefit?
  • What are the results for the community?

Outstanding Librarian Award

The Outstanding Librarian award recognizes the significant and outstanding accomplishments of a library employee in the past year, including service to the public and/or library community. It is also meant to reflect the goals of WLA and the library profession as a whole.

Nomination Questions

  • Contributions to WLA and the library profession in the past year.
  • Contributions to the employee's library and the local surrounding community in the past year.
  • Original and innovative planning, thinking, and using resources in the past year for special projects and/or programs.
  • Advocating the library's role and position of importance in the community in the past year.
  • Additional comments and supporting documentation (optional; maximum of three pages).

Outstanding Library Award

The Outstanding Library award recognizes a significant special project completed within the last two years. The staff, library board, community, or people served must all have been involved in the work for which recognition is sought.

Nomination Criteria

  • User services.
  • Development of innovative partnerships through networks, systems, cooperative planning, and programming.
  • Sound collection development policies.
  • Opportunities offered for professional growth and job satisfaction for all employees.
  • Improvement of physical facilities resulting in better services.

Nomination Questions

  • Describe the need for the project.
  • What service population benefited from the project?
  • How was the project unique or creative?
  • Who carried out the project?
  • How long did the project take and when was it completed?
  • How much did the project cost?
  • Additional comments and supporting documentation (optional; maximum of three pages).


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