2023 Michigan Library Award Honorees

The Michigan Library Association (MLA), the Library of Michigan, and the Library of Michigan Foundation are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Michigan Library Awards.

The Michigan Library Awards are awarded annually and are considered the state’s highest honors within the library community. These awards celebrate the excellence, accomplishments, dedication, and service of outstanding libraries, library staff, trustees, and supporters in the Michigan library community.

The 2023 honorees were unveiled on Wednesday, October 18 during the Michigan Library Awards Gala in Kalamazoo.

“It is clear that Michigan libraries and library workers are changing people’s lives for the better and the work they do matters,” said Deborah E. Mikula, MLA Executive Director. “This year’s Michigan Library Awards celebrate and honor some of the most dedicated, creative, and driven librarians, supporters, and champions. We are so proud of the work these exceptional individuals and libraries are doing in their communities to support the best possible library service for Michiganders, ensuring access to information and safeguarding the right to read.”

Each recipient was chosen through peer review for their outstanding achievements as follows:


Jim Bolton from the Superior District Library, Pickford Community Library in Pickford Michigan was recognized with the 2023 Heart of a Champion Award. This award recognizes a library supporter who has shown an exceptional commitment to libraries or the library profession through continued advocacy and supporting or providing funding for their local library. 


Nisa Kesseler from Petoskey District Library, in Petoskey Michigan was awarded the 2023 Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth. This award is given annually to a Michigan library staff person who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of library service to youth throughout their career.


The 2023 Library Support Staff of the Year Award was awarded to Victoria Edwards from the West Bloomfield Township Public Library in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan. This award recognizes a support staff professional who goes above and beyond to provide support at their library and who has advanced and strengthened the image of support staff. 


Megan Buck from the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain, Michigan was named the 2023 Public Librarian of the Year Award. This award recognizes outstanding library professionals who inspire people, provide innovative library service to their community, promote collaboration among libraries, and show evidence of personal and professional achievement as well as initiative and creativity. 


The 2023 Rising Star Award was awarded to Georgina Broyles from the MacDonald Public Library in New Baltimore, Michigan, and the Center Line Public Library in Center Line, Michigan. The Rising Star Award recognizes a librarian who shows leadership early in their career. While new to the profession, winners of this award are forward-thinking, expand the role of librarian, and move libraries into the future.


United States Senator Debbie Stabenow was recognized with the Legislator Lifetime Achievement Award. The Legislator Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to elected officials in recognition of outstanding leadership in promoting libraries and supporting legislation or amendments that advance our legislative goals throughout their tenure in the legislature.


Paul McCann from the Dexter District Library in Dexter, Michigan, received the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes a deserving librarian for their distinguished service to the library profession over the course of their career. Throughout their career, winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award have sustained a strong and consistent body of work and demonstrated leadership in their community and the profession – mentoring and empowering library staff, providing innovative service to their community, and enhancing the image and visibility of the library. They promote collaboration among libraries and librarians and have been a catalyst in special areas such as intellectual freedom, library innovation, outreach, and equity, diversity, and inclusion.


The State Librarian’s Citations of Excellence were awarded to the Sunfield District Library in Sunfield, Michigan, and the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, Michigan Technological University, in Houghton, Michigan. Citations of Excellence are awarded by the Library of Michigan Foundation and the Library of Michigan each year to highlight the importance of Michigan libraries’ services. The Citations of Excellence Awards are supported by the Library of Michigan Foundation. 


The State Librarian’s Excellence Award was awarded to the Fremont Area District Library in Fremont, Michigan. This award highlights the importance of Michigan libraries’ services and recognizes an exemplary library for its commitment to excellence. The State Librarian’s Excellence Award is sponsored by the Roger and June B. Mendel Fund through the Library of Michigan Foundation.


Caro Area District Library in Caro, Michigan, was honored with the 2023 Intellectual Freedom Award. Established in 2023, the MLA Intellectual Freedom Award recognizes a library for the Board’s and Staff’s outstanding work to protect and/or promote the principles of intellectual freedom and the right to read. 

The Michigan Library Association (MLA) is Michigan's oldest and largest library association. Since 1891, MLA has led the advancement of all Michigan libraries through advocacy, education, and engagement. MLA's membership is comprised of individual and organizational members from public, academic, school, tribal, and special libraries. For more information visit milibraries.org.

The Library of Michigan was created by the Michigan Legislature to guarantee the people of this State and their government one perpetual institution to collect, preserve, and provide access to the story of the State, and to support libraries in their role as essential community anchors. For more information visit: michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan/

The Library of Michigan Foundation was established in 1985 to support and enrich the capabilities, resources, and services of the Library of Michigan. The Library of Michigan provides opportunities for charitable giving to support Library of Michigan programs, collections, and services not provided through state or federal funding. For more information visit: libraryofmichiganfoundation.org/



View past award winners here.


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