The Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award

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

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.

2020 Recipient

Nyack Library Honored with 2020 Shubert Library Excellence Award

The New York State Library and the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries is pleased to announce that the 2020 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award has been awarded to the Nyack Library for its Black American Culture & Arts Series: The Legacy of Toni Morrison.

Originally a solo project for Black History Month, Nyack expanded their exploration of Nobel Laureate Morrison into a comprehensive, year-long reflection of her impact and legacy through a variety of programs across artistic media. The intent of the series was to attract a broad audience whose lives have been and continue to be affected by the work of this author. The series included programming to reach across the spectrum of ages and experiences.

In addition, the Library turned the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic into a positive opportunity to connect with community members. When in-person events became impossible, the Library pivoted to digital platforming, increasing their attendance by 3 times what was anticipated for an in-person event. In the Library’s words: “We wanted to foster conversation and discourse that helps participants realize that the ideas captured in Dr. Morrison's poetic words will continue to be relevant as American culture searches for racial and social justice and equity.” The Shubert Award Committee agreed and unanimously awarded the 2020 Shubert Award to the Nyack Library.

State Librarian Lauren Moore had these comments about the 2020 Shubert Award: “This year’s pool of candidates presented the Committee with a difficult challenge – how to pick from an array of quality projects. While we are pleased to honor Nyack Library with this award, we felt that we must recognize two other participants with Honorable Mentions”:

  • The Cattaraugus Library. Under extremely challenging operating conditions, the new Director increased book & DVD circulation and patron usage of the Library by 100%. Using innovative programming such as Drive-by Santa Claus and Celebration of Dr. Seuss, the Director was successful in reengaging the local community. This resulted in generous donations of materials and volunteer help in restoring Library infrastructure.
  • Capital Area BOCES School Library Systems (Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery (HFM) BOCES, Questar III BOCES, Capital Region BOCES, and Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES. As school districts closed down from the pandemic, school librarians were fielding questions from teachers, students, and parents to help them navigate this new landscape of digital learning. After a needs assessment (involving 90 area librarians), the BOCES libraries developed a program of 12 weekly, one-hour sessions with topics that included strategies to meet teacher and student needs, dealing with social-emotional concerns of families, teachers and students, and enriching literacy through reading motivation. One example of the program’s success was an increase of over 50% in e-book usage.

Previous Award Recipients

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


Southern Adirondack Library Systemexternal link opens in a new window for its Fresh Food Collective Farm-2-Library Distribution initiative [PDF file opens in a new window .PDF; 208k]


Clinton Community Libraryexternal link opens in a new window for its Optimistic Aging [PDF file opens in a new window .PDF; 616k] program.


Rochester Public Libraryexternal link opens in a new window for its fines elimination pilot programexternal link opens in a new window.


Hendrick Hudson Free Library for their being the first library in Westchester County to be certified as a Green Business.


Red Hook Public Libraryexternal link for their recognition of its innovative programs and increase in attendance and circulation.
  • 2015 Awards Press Release .PDF PDF file [70k]
  • See their application: .PDF PDF file [187k]


no award given


Winner: Southworth Library Learning Commonsexternal link at SUNY Canton for their transitioning to a learning commons model from a traditional academic library
  • See their application: .PDF PDF file [966k]

Runner-up: 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)


Winner: Greece Public Libraryexternal link for their expansion of programming space
  • See their application: .PDF PDF file [966k]


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


Winner: Queens Library, for Queens Library for Teens.

Runner-up: Milne Library/SUNY Geneseo, for “LILAC” (Library Instruction Leadership Academy)


Winner: New York City School Library System for their Tween to Teen program.

Runner-up: Western New York Library Resources Council for their project entitled, Ask Us 24/7


Winner: Mid-Hudson Library System in Poughkeepsie, New York, for the program entitled Health Information Project.

Runner-up: Queens Library for HealthLink.


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: March 12, 2021 -- sm