The MPLA Awards Committee have announced the winners of the 2014 awards to be presented at the 2014 MPLA/AzLA Joint Annual Conference in November. Awards Committee Chair Mary Ann Thompson expressed her appreciation to the committee for their help.

Unsung Hero Award: This year’s Unsung Hero is Roy Degler who serves as our systems administrator. He is Digital Library Services at Edmon Low Library at Oklahoma State University. As his nominator says “Roy serves MPLA as Systems Administrator, his duties are to maintain and manage the Association's webserver and all the functions that entails. He is an expert in managing a webserver, knows the cutting edge tools we might install to offer more functions to our members. He is an expert in navigating trouble, such as hacking attempts against the server, which he usually handles without a word to anyone. MPLA simply could not function in an online environment without the efforts and expertise of Roy Degler.”

Distinguished Service Award: Carol Hammond is the 2014 Distinguished Service winner. She has been a member of MPLA for 24 years, serving on the board in many capacities, including as President. “During her leadership years, Carol led MPLA through the early stages of a massive reorganization, necessitated by shifting membership needs and trends. And her time as MPLA President was characterized by strong leadership and concern with ensuring that MPLA continue to provide excellent services to membership. Carol also served MPLA as a Mentor for the MPLA Leadership Institute in 2007. For 40 years of service to academic libraries in total, 25 years of service to the state of Arizona, and 24 years as a member of MPLA, Carol Hammond richly deserves consideration for the MPLA Distinguished Service Award.”

Carl Gaumer Library Champion Award: The Friends of Kansas Libraries is this year’s Carl Gaumer Library Champion. “The Friends of Kansas Libraries (FOKL) provides Start-up Grants and Challenge Grants to help establish new Friends groups or to grow existing groups. The grants are used for marketing, hosting events, and publicizing the Friends group. FOKL also annually recognizes outstanding individuals and Friends groups at their annual Friends Luncheon held at the Kansas Library Conference. Kansas libraries are indebted to FOKL for their enthusiastic and continual financial support and advocacy.”

Literary Contribution Award: This year’s Literary Contribution Award goes to Kent Haruf. His published works include The Tie That Binds (1984), Where You Once Belonged (1990), Plainsong (1999), Eventide (2004), West of Last Chance, with photographer Peter Brown (2008), and Benediction (2013). “His novels are set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado. It is a small town on the plains of eastern Colorado. His books and his characters are at once familiar and hard to know, just like in real life. In bestowing upon him the Stegner Award, the Center of the American West said to Haruf that they ‘will not surrender the right to celebrate your deep and lasting contribution to the cause of our region’s self-knowledge.’”

The awards will be given out at a luncheon on Friday, November 14, 2014 at the AzLA/MPLA conference, Libraries: The Best of the West, held at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort and Conference Center. I hope to see you all there!