The Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award

The New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, Friends of the New York State Library

2015: Announcement; Application

Previous Recipients

image of Joseph F. Shubert; click on the image to see a larger versionThe Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award is given annually to recognize the achievements of small, medium and large libraries and library consortia in New York State. Named after the late Joseph F. Shubert, former State Librarian, the Award honors libraries or library consortia that have taken significant steps within the past two years to improve the quality of library service to users.

The New York State Regents Advisory Council is pleased to sponsor the Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award.  The award includes a gift of $1,000 supplied by the Friends of the New York State Library. Other notable projects may also be recognized and honored for their achievements.

Please note that the application deadline for the 2015 award is August 15, 2015.

2013 Award

The New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries is pleased to announce that the 2013 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award was awarded to the Southworth Library Learning Commonsexternal link at SUNY Canton for their transitioning to a learning commons model from a traditional academic library.

After a devastating revelation from their 2009 SUNY system-wide Student Opinion Survey that students rated their campus library last of seven in the technical colleges category and at the very bottom of all the 27 state-operated campus libraries surveyed, they determined to flip those standings by transitioning to a learning commons model from a traditional academic library.

The Library was able to expand its hours as well as stay open 24/7 during exam periods.  The Library department combined with the Tutoring department to become one, library-based learning center for all students on campus.  The collections expanded to include a range of technology to use within the library as well as an extensive collection of textbooks.  The headcounts and service contacts continue to climb at Southworth Library Learning Commons and have doubled since 2010.  They are now referred to as the “jewel” of the campus and see it celebrated in campus tours at all levels.  Because their entire approach is progressive, they continue to search for ways to introduce new media and meet more patron needs, with an eye on staying ahead of the ever changing demand for resources and services.

See their application: .PDF PDF file [5.6 Meg]

The Runner Up for 2013 was the School Library Systems Association of New York State, Inc. (SLSA) with its consortium of school systems across NYS to create the SLS Consortium of Online Resources for Educationexternal link (SCORE).

This group uses a web-based database system to collect data that is used in the negotiations to receive discounted pricing for online databases for school libraries across New York State.  The Shubert Committee wishes to recognize the great savings of money, time and effort that this project provides.

The 2012 winner, the Greece Public Library, won for expanding their programming space.  Bernadette Foster, Director of the Greece Public Library, said, “We needed to expand our program space, but we couldn’t afford to expand the library.”  By taking advantage of tools from the Monroe County library system that keep track of which books and materials patrons are actually using, Greece library staff were able to scale down their collection of books and open up enough space to triple the size of the program room.  “We were able to identify what people in this community wanted from their library collection and were able to delete a lot of things that were just sitting there not being used and we were able to buy things that people really want,” said Foster.

The awards were presented in September at the 2013 New York Library Association Conference in Niagara Falls. As the 2013 Shubert Award winner, the Southworth Library Learning Commons received $1,000, which was graciously donated by the Friends of the New York State Library, and a plaque.  The runner-up, School Library Systems Association of New York State, received a plaque.

Members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries 2013 Shubert Award Committee were Mary Muller, Chair; Steve Manning and Sharon Orienter.  The Committee was uniformly enthusiastic in its decision to honor the Southworth Library Learning Commons submission as an excellent example of the “spirit of the Shubert award.” 

2013 Awards Press Release .PDF PDF file [16k]

Previous Award Recipients

[Click on the links below to view their applications for the Award and/or links to more information about the project.]



  • Winner: The New York Public Library (NYPL) for their project entitled Homework NYCexternal link
    • See their application: .PDF PDF file [634k]
  • Runner-up: Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (BOCES) School Library System, for their regional school library system union catalog FiveSystems.orgexternal link





Story Quilt, a "one-of-a-kind literary, social history project of the Galway Public Library...."

Story quilt cover; Galway Public Library; click to enlarge the image.Left: cover of Story Quilt: Poems of a Place by the People Who Live Here; A project of the Galway Public Library. See Galway's application for more information and pictures.


  • Southeastern New York Library Resources Council: "The Hudson River Valley Heritage (HRVH) Service," providing online access to historical materials from New York State's Hudson River Valley to researchers, students and the general public.
  • Albany Public Library: Bookmobile service, coordinated by the Library's Outreach Department, providing day-to-day programs and services so that "[e]very City of Albany resident shall have regular and equitable access to the information, educational, and recreational resources and programs of the Albany Public Library."


  • Southern Adirondack Library System: "Statewide Performer Database," a unique project that supports statewide youth library service by compiling programming and performer information from all across New York.
  • Mid-York Library System: The "Regional Read" project promoted literacy and community involvement by encouraging people to read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and to participate in programs related to the book.


  • Rochester Regional Library Council: "CLIC-on-Health" project, an outstanding approach to providing the people of the greater Rochester area with high-quality healthcare information and resources.
  • Cortland Junior/Senior High School Library: "Parent-Child Book Club" project, an exceptional approach to promoting literacy by bringing together eighth graders and their parents for literary discussions and author presentations.


  • Albany Public Library: "First Stop/The Next Step" project, a unique approach to addressing the needs of those in the community who are in the process of making the transition from incarceration to employment.


  • Crandall Public Library, Glen Falls: Unique approach to addressing specific consumer health needs of patrons.
  • Four County Library System, Vestal: Exemplary approach to providing Internet resources to a rural community via a Cybermobile project.


  • Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
  • Lincoln High School Media Center


  • Kendall Jr. High School Library
  • Mohawk Valley Library System


  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Queens Borough Public Library
  • North Country Reference and Research Resources Council


  • Port Washington Public Library
  • Science, Industry & Business Library
  • Potsdam Public Library
  • Reading Room Association of Gouverneur
  • Finger Lakes Library System & Project Partners
  • University Libraries, SUNY at Buffalo University
  • Southern Westchester BOCES School Library System
  • Suffolk Cooperative Library System


  • New York Academy of Medicine Library
  • The New York Public Library – The Branch Libraries
  • Lawville Free Library
  • Mohawk Valley Library Association
  • Nassau School Library System
  • Fairport Library Council


  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Queens Borough Public Library
  • Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
  • Mid-York Library System
  • Honorable Mention:
    • Voorheesville Public Library
    • Woodward Memorial Library
Last Updated: July 1, 2015