Library District receives two Florida Library Association awards

April 25, 2017

Two Alachua County Library District programs received Florida Library Association (FLA) awards. The Teen Creative Writing Contest received the Betty Davis Miller Youth Services - Teens award and the Conversational English program received the Maria Chavez-Hernandez “Libraries Change Peoples’ Lives” award.

These programs were selected from a large number of applicants for the quality of their service to their local communities. The Teen Creative Writing Contest was recognized as an outstanding program that encourages writing among teens, strengthens library partnerships with local schools and teachers as well as authors and stimulates a positive relationship with teens and the library. The contest benefits teens by providing opportunities for self-expression and self-confidence building through writing.

“I loved getting to judge the teen contest,” said local poet and Teen Creative Writing Contest judge Lola Haskins. “I think events like this are among the most impacting things libraries can do. It's so important to show teens how much of themselves lies beyond Twitter and Snapchat and how beautiful that part is. And to reward them publicly for having the courage to stand forward.” 

Tower Road Branch’s Conversational English Program was recognized for fostering life-long learning and providing life-changing opportunities for immigrant and under-served populations. Since 2011, the program has connected volunteer coaches with English language learners at the library to practice the art of conversation and engage in cultural exchanges. The program continues to grow and currently serves 163 people, 48 volunteers plus 115 students with 38 on a waiting list.

Recently, student Antonine Pollas made a special trip to Tower Road Branch to share her triumphant news. After practicing and improving her English with her coach and pursuing a degree in nursing, she was promoted at her job and gained more responsibility along with better hours and more pay.

“I just wanted to thank you,” said Antonine Pollas. “The Conversational English program helped me. My coaches were excellent.”

FLA will present its 2017 awards to honor outstanding libraries, individuals, businesses and library supporters during its annual conference Orlando on May 10.  Other awards include 2017 FLA Library of the Year: Jacksonville Public Library.

“Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees,” said FLA President Elana Karshmer. “You make us proud and you make our state a better place for all of us to live and work.”

For more information about the Florida Library Association awards visit or contact FLA President Elana Karshmer at 352-588-8412. For information about the Library District visit or contact Nickie Kortus at or 352-334-3909.



If a person with a disability needs an accommodation in order to participate in this event he or she is entitled, at no cost to him or her, to the provision of certain assistance.  Please contact the Alachua County Library District at 352-334-3910 at least three (3) days prior to the event.  TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).  

Press Release Archive