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John Cotton Dana Award

The John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, usually referred to as the John Cotton Dana Award, is an annual award given by the Library Leadership and Management Association, American Library Association for excellence in library public relations. It is named for John Cotton Dana, a Progressive Era librarian who strove to make libraries accessible to as many people as possible.[1] This award has been given continuously since 1946 and is sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, the H.W. Wilson Foundation and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).[2] Eight winners receive a $10,000 prize and a plaque. The award is considered to be the ALA's most prestigious honor.[3]

The John Cotton Dana Awards are presented at a reception hosted by EBSCO during the American Library Association's annual conference.



The John Cotton Dana Award was created to replace the Wilson Publicity Honor Roll, a three-year plan sponsored by the H.W. Wilson Company and the ALA Public Relations Committee. The first Honor Roll recipients were named in 1940 and this inaugural class consisted of 52 libraries.[4] The Honor Roll was awarded from 1940 to 1942. In 1942, at the ALA's Annual Conference in Milwaukee, the Public Relations Committee convinced the ALA Council that a new, permanent publicity award was necessary. Implementation of this new award was held off until the end of World War II.[5]

Initially, two awards were presented: the John Cotton Dana Awards and the John Cotton Dana Special Awards. These two awards were combined into a single award beginning with the 1996 winners. The awards were streamlined to eliminate any misconceptions that the Special Award was a less significant honor.[6]

Previous recipients of the John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership include John H. Falk and Lynn Dierking, Oregon State University and the Institute for Learning Innovation; Marian Godfrey, Director of the Culture Programs, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia; Diane Frankel, Institute of Library and Museum Services; Marlene Chambers, Director, Publications, Denver Art Museum; Joel Bloom, Director, Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia, PA; and Michael Spock, Director, Boston Children’s Museum.[7]


The award is open to all libraries. Previous winners have included public libraries, school libraries, special libraries, and academic libraries. Entry documents are available through EBSCO. Entries are judged on the criteria of Needs Assessment and Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. Each of the five judges are previous winners of the award.[3]


  1. ^ Mattson, K. (2000). "The librarian as secular minister to democracy: The life and ideas of John Cotton Dana". Libraries & Culture. 35 (4): 514–534.
  2. ^ "John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, EBSCO". EBSCO. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Everything You Wanted to Know About the John Cotton Dana Award".
  4. ^ Garrison, G. J. (1940). "Wilson publicity honor roll - 1940". ALA Bulletin. 34 (6): 401–402, 422.
  5. ^ Eldredge, J. (1992). "The John Cotton Dana legacy: Promoting libraries for users". Wilson Library Bulletin. 66 (8): 46.
  6. ^ Dowell, C. D. (1995). "Dana PR award turns 50". American Libraries. 26 (9): 908–911.
  7. ^ "John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership Past Recipients". Retrieved 2017-02-01.

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