The Association for Rural & Small Libraries' Announces Inaugural ARSL Award Winners

SEATTLE, WA —The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 ARSL Awards. The nominees for these inaugural national library awards have set a high standard for all nominees to come. We thank them all for their service to rural and small libraries!

Solo Librarian of the Year Award

This award recognizes the ARSL members who wear the most hats of all. The winner of this award is a solo or nearly-solo library worker who best demonstrates commitment to their community and to ARSL's Organizational Values through the work that they do.

2023 Solo Librarian of the Year Winner - Barbara Rehmeyer, Liberty Library in Liberty, Maine.

Others nominated for the award include: Bree Drapa, Westford Public Library, Westford, Vermont; Roger Duitsman, Douglas County Department of Corrections in Douglas County, Nebraska; Leslie Durham, Elgin Community Library, Elgin, Oklahoma; Lisa Ladd, Buck Memorial Library, Orland, Maine; Kayla Mathson, Independence Public Library, Independence, Wisconsin; Chelsea Price, Meservey Public Library, Meservey, Iowa; and Whitney Roundtree, Franklin County Public Library, Eastpoint, Florida.

Innovative Service Award

This award goes to a library or individual library worker who has used innovative, creative thinking to find new ways to serve their community. This could be through the establishment of a new program or service, or through the enhancement of an existing program or service.

2023 Innovative Service Award Winner - Sherry Scheline, Donnelly Public Library, Donnelly, Idaho.

Others nominated for the award include: Victoria Blackmer, Robert R. Jones Pubic Library District, Moline, Illinois; Mellissa Clark, Camden County Public Library, St. Marys, Georgia; Robyn Drummond, Wakulla County Public Library, Crawfordville, Florida; and Shannon Stoner, Gillett Public Library, Gillett, Wisconsin.

Equity Champion Award

This award recognizes a library or individual library worker who has demonstrated a commitment to sustained Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility practices through the work they do. They have identified one or more systemic barriers to access or service within their organization and have taken action to remove them.

2023 Equity Champion Award Winner - Heather Hutto, Montfort & Allie B. Jones Bristow Public Library, Bristow, Oklahoma.

Other nominated for the award include: Natalie Binder, Jefferson County R.J. Bailar Public Library, Monticello, Florida; Ashley Stewart, Caseyville Public Library District, Caseyville, Illinois; and an organizational nomination for Maplewood Public Library, Maplewood, Missouri.

Distinguished Service Award

This award goes to a library or individual library worker who has demonstrated significant, sustained community engagement and impact in alignment with ARSL's Organizational Values. Service may be directly related to library programs, events, or services, or may be tangentially related to library work through contributions to local civic or volunteer organizations as a representative of their library. This award can consider service undertaken for the duration of an individual's career, not only the last calendar year.

2023 Distinguished Service Award Winner - Kieran Hixon, Colorado State Library, Florence, Colorado.

Other nominated for the award include: Mellissa Clark from Camden County Public Library, St. Marys, Georgia; Julie Elmore,Oakland City Columbia Twp. Public Library, Oakland City, Indiana; Joy Kyhn, Ravenna Public Library, Ravenna, Nebraska; and Barbara Radigan, Pulteney Free Library, Pulteney, New York.

We would also like to recognize the Page Public Library in Page, Arizona as the recipient of this year’s Library Journal Best Small Library in America award. Several members of Page Public Library staff are active and engaged members of ARSL, and they were recognized alongside the ARSL Award recipients at the 2023 ARSL Awards Luncheon. Both the Library Journal award and the ARSL Awards Luncheon were generously sponsored by Ingram Content Group.

For more information about the ARSL Awards, please visit