MPLA presents a variety of awards annually in conjunction with the annual conference and member state association partner. The MPLA awards are as follows:

Distinguished Service
To be given to an MPLA member who has made notable contributions to the library profession or has furthered significant development of libraries in the Mountain Plains region, or has performed exemplary service for an extended period of time. In the case of retired individuals, the nominee may be a past member of MPLA.
Literary Contribution
To be given to an author whose published writings have successfully furthered an understanding and appreciation of the Mountain Plains region. The author need not reside in the region, and the selection may be based on either a single work or a body of works. Published works will be evaluated on the basis of literary worth, readability, and evidence of responsible research.
Beginning Professional
To recognize an MPLA member, who as a librarian/media specialist within the first five years after receiving a library/media masters degree, has made a positive impact on the quality and role of library service. Factors such as innovative programming and planning, use of resources, and special projects will be considered.
Unsung Hero
To be given to any library individual(s) or group(s) in the MPLA region who have worked on a special project that has some significance to a community but which has not been eligible for a library award or which has for other reasons specified by the nominator not been recognized, to the degree that it merits, by any library organization.
Carl Gaumer Library Champion
To be given to the individual, organization or company whose positive support of the Mountain Plains Library Association is demonstrated by repeated conscientious endeavors towards libraries, library staff, trustees and professional activities.
Innovator
To recognize an up-and-coming individual(s) or group(s) in the MPLA region for a creative, inventive, trail-blazing project that has significance to the library community.

Distinguished Service Award Winners

2016 -- Bette Rathe
2015 -- Jean Hatfield
2014 -- Carol Hammond
2013 -- Elvita Landau
2012 -- Christopher Rippel
2011 -- Holly Van Valkenburgh
2010 -- Connie Lamb
2009 -- Dorothy Liegl
2008 -- Debbie Iverson
2007 -- Susan Pinkerton
2005 -- Donna Jones Morris
2004 -- Patti Butcher
2003 -- Marilyn Hinshaw
2002 -- Mona Carmack
2000 -- Richard Rademacher
1997 -- Corky Walters
1994 -- Bunny Morrison
1993 -- J. Dennis Day
1992 -- Jerry Kaup
1991 -- Blaine Hall
1990 -- Michael M. Miller
1989 -- Amy Owen
1987 -- Agnes McDow Milstead
1986 -- Joe Edelen
1985 -- Edith B. Siegrist
1983 -- Tom Jones
1981 -- Jane Kolbe
1979 -- Barbara J. Mauseth
1978 -- Evelyn Brewster
1976 -- Gus Hanniball

Literary Contribution Award Winners

2016 -- Lili DeBarbieri
2015 -- Craig Johnson
2014 -- Kent Haruf
2013 -- Larry Watson
2012 -- Jean Lukesh
2010 -- N. Scott Momaday
2009 -- Don Coldsmith
2008 -- Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W.Michael Gear
2005 -- Joseph M. Marshall III
2004 -- Roy Wenzl
2003 -- Alan Kesselheim
2002 -- Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
2001 -- Mark Spragg
2000 -- David Dary
1997 -- Michael Wallis
1996 -- Tony Hillerman
1995 -- Kathleen Norris
1994 -- Ann M. Rathke
1993 -- John E. Miller
1992 -- Paul Goble
1991 -- Alberto Alvaro Rios
1990 -- William Kloefkorn
1989 -- Leonard James Arrington
1987 -- A. B. Guthrie
1985 -- Ivy Ruckman
1984 -- Peggy Simson Curry
1978 -- Wallace Stegner
1977 -- Robert G. Athearn

Beginning Professional Award Winners

2015 -- Cherise Mead
2012 -- Jason Walker
2010 -- Tom Taylor
2009 -- Kaijsa Calkins
2008 -- Bryan Tronstad
2003 -- Julie Bartel
2002 -- Tracie Partridge
2001 -- Brenda Mathenia
2000 -- Barbara Stransky
1996 -- Venice Beske
1993 -- Richard AmRhein
1992 -- Jan E. Dawson
1990 -- Arlene Wright
1989 -- Georgia Lomax
1986 -- Paul Hawkins
1982 -- Russell Shirts
1981 -- Heather McNeil
1980 -- Lisa Kinney
1979 -- Lynnda M. Wangsgard
1978 -- John Olsgaard
1977 -- Hal Brown

Unsung Hero Award Winners

2015 -- Jean Whitehorse
2014 -- Roy Degler
2013 -- Stacey Goldade
2012 -- Lisa Mecklenberg-Jackson
2011 -- Judy Zelenski
2010 -- Valerie Horton and Susan Burton
2009 -- Sharon Morrison
2008 -- Roseanne Siemens, Roger Karswell and Liz Turner

Innovator Award Winners

2016 -- Deanne Dekle
2013 -- LuCinda Gustavson
2012 -- Arlene Bean Caruso

Carl Gaumer Library Champion Award Winners

2015 -- Wayne Hanway
2014 -- Friends of Kansas Libraries
2013 -- Dana Braccia
2012 -- Rebecca Lubas
2011 -- Innovative Interfaces
2010 -- Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma (FOLIO)
2009 -- Dan Chaney
2008 -- Mary Bushing
2007 -- Ghost Ranch
2005 -- I.D. Weeks Library, University of South Dakota
2003 -- Stan Terry, EBSCO
2000 -- Pat Wagner
1993 -- EBSCO Subscription Services
1987 -- Duane Munson
1985 -- Mike Crawford

For historical record purposes, there are discontinued MPLA awards as follows:

Legislative Leadership
Was to be given to an individual or group (state legislature, city council, board of education, etc.) in recognition of exemplary legislative leadership or support for growth and development of a library or libraries in the MPLA area within the last two years.
News Media Support
Was given to recognize the news media organization in the MPLA region making the strongest effort, either in a single presentation, or in on-going coverage, within the last two years, to promote libraries and library services to the community. Criteria will include amount and effectiveness of coverage and manifestation of a positive commitment to generate public interest in a library or libraries.
Youth Services
Was to be given to a library that exemplifies excellence in library services to youth. This excellence can be demonstrated through one or more of the following: reference and information services, access to technology, reading promotion, youth participation, collaborative efforts, education support, staff and volunteer development, inter-generational activities, programs and services that address special needs patrons; programs and services that emphasize the library's role in a state, region or local municipality.
Intellectual Freedom
Was given to an individual or group making significant contributions to the enhancement of First Amendment rights. The recipient should have demonstrated a clear understanding of the principles, nature, responsibilities, and implications of the First Amendment. The recipient should have applied that understanding of the principles in one or more of the following ways: In defense of the First Amendment principles in the face of a serious challenge to those principles though not necessarily limited to libraries. In support of the First Amendment principles through an active role in: 1. Formulating programs which develop people's ability to deal with a full range of opinion/controversy and with the issues associated with such controversy, or 2. Developing, or materially assisting in the development of a legal base for the continued enjoyment of freedom of mind, its strengthening, and its defense, or 3. Expanding the philosophical foundations of the principles or contributing to a better understanding of them.

Legislative Leadership Award Winners

2007 -- Wyoming State Legislature
2004 -- Wyoming State Legislature
2003 -- Natrona County Recreation Joint Powers Board (Casper, Wyoming)
2001 -- Barbara Staggs, Oklahoma State Legislator
2000 -- Senator Gigi Dennis and Representative Doug Dean (CO)
1997 -- Sharyn Pennington (AZ)
1995 -- Wyoming Library Association Legislative Committee
1994 -- Corliss Mushik
1993 -- Arizona Library Friends
1992 -- Bill Wisdom and Elizabeth Baker
1991 -- Camilla A. Alire (CO)
1987 -- Sen. Darrell G. Renstrom and Rep. Kim R. Burningham
1986 -- Mary Edelen (SD)
1985 -- Montana Arts Advocacy
1984 -- L. M. "Bud" Cornish
1980 -- Kay Johnson
1979 -- Michael Unhjem
1977 -- Michael O'Callaghan

News Media Support Award Winners

2007 -- Ron & Sheryl Nutt (KS)
2005 -- Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
2004 -- Mark Petterson, Coffey County Republican (KS)
2003 -- KOAA Channel 5/30 Television (CO)
2002 -- The Wichita Eagle (KS)
2001 -- Arizona Republic Newspaper (AZ)
2000 -- KSAS/Fox Television (KS)
1999 -- Johnson County Bureau of the Kansas City Star (KS)
1997 -- Sun Publications (KS)
1996 -- Phoenix Newspapers, Inc. (AZ)
1993 -- Brookings Daily Register (SD)
1990 -- Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner (WY)
1989 -- The Beatrice Daily Sun and Radio Station (NE)
1987 -- The Hutchinson News (KS)
1986 -- The Sentinel (Jefferson County, CO)
1985 -- The Great Bend Tribune (KS)
1984 -- Howells Journal (NE)
1983 -- Jamestown Sun (ND)
1980 -- Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT)
1979 -- Hastings Daily Tribune (NE)
1978 -- Eagle-Advertiser (Murray, UT)
1977 -- Daily Boomerang (WY)

Youth Services Award Winners

2007 -- Campbell County Public Library (WY)
2005 -- Youth and Outreach Services paraprofessional staff, Laramie County Library System (WY)
2003 -- The Public Libraries serving Sedgwick County (KS)
2002 -- Johnson County Library, Overland Park (KS)
2001 -- Salina Public Library (KS)

Intellectual Freedom Award Winners

2007 -- Cindi Hickey(KS)
2005 -- Hays, KS Public Library Board (2004 term)
2004 -- Martin Garnar, Reference Librarian, Regis University, Denver, CO
2003 -- Joyce Meskis, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO
2002 -- Charles Levendosky, Casper Star-Tribune, Casper, WY
2001 -- Jim Heckel, Director of the Great Falls Public Library, Montana