Upstart Innovative Programming Award

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Use this version of the APPLICATION FORM (doc) to prepare your answers for the online form or to apply by email.

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The Upstart Innovative Programming Award (previously the Highsmith Award) recognizes two libraries - one school and one for all other library types (i.e., public, academic, special) – that have implemented creative marketing projects and/or promotions to enhance their visibility within their service community (example: library web sites, genre promotion, information services, library card sign-up, or any innovative project).

An Upstart representative presents the awards during the second general session of the TLA Annual Conference each April. Each library receives a $1,000 check and a plaque.

Application Guidelines

  • Texas libraries of any size or type are eligible and are encouraged to apply.
  • Two awards are available, one for school libraries and the second for all other library types (i.e., public, academic, special).
  • Applicants may apply for only one of the awards.
  • The program must have been in existence for a minimum of one year by the application deadline and should have been initiated no more than three years ago. In other words, for a project to qualify for the 2018 award, it must have started after February 2015 but before February 2018.
  • A library may apply as often as desired but may not submit an application for a previous Highsmith Award winning program.
  • Deadline: Materials must be received by midnight February 15, 2018.
  • 2017 Chair: Russell Keelin. Email:

Submission Requirements: A complete application is required. In electronic format, submit one document or visual that was created for the marketing project or that demonstrated the marketing project’s impact.


  • 2016:Riverchase Elementary School Library and Whitesboro Public Library
  • 2015  Lego for Literacy, Murchison Elementary, Pflugerville ISD; Promoting Finding Aides on Social Media, Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University
  • 2014  Battle of the Books, Sagamore Hill Elementary, Fort Worth ISD; Story Time Backpacks, Frisco Public Library
  • 2013  Read-a-Coaster, Hebron High School, Lewisville ISD; Sensory Storytime, South Regional Library, Montgomery County Memorial Library System
  • 2012  Summer Reading Project, Sloan Creek Middle School (Lovejoy ISD); Bookrunners! Your Personal Reading Consultants, Harris County Public Library
  • 2011  Shackelford Jr. High School, Arlington, TX; Bertha Voyer Memorial Library, Honey Grove, TX
  • 2010  Rock Out with a Reading Buddy, Duncanville High Library; Library L.I.T.E., Montgomery Co. Memorial Library System,
  • 2009  Amarillo Reads Program (Amarillo PL); Kreinhop Student Council Book Drive, Kreinhop Elementary School (KISD)
  • 2008  Frisco ISD Libraries; Frisco Public Library
  • 2007  McDermott Library, University of Texas in Dallas; Midlothian ISD and AH Meadows Public Library
  • 2006  Midway Reads, Midway ISD; Hurst Overland Reader’s Railroad, Hurst Public Library
  • 2005  Montgomery County Teen Book FestivalThe Woodlands High School-McCullough Campus & The John Cooper School; Teen Read Week – 2004: It’s alive! @ your library, Pasadena Public Library
  • 2004  The Notorious TBC, Cedar Park Public Library; Families Reading Together, Kinkeade Early Childhood School
  • 2003  Chisolm Trail Middle School (Rhome): Paperback Pigouts; and Arlington Public Library: Read it Again!
  • 2002  Montgomery County Memorial Library System and Conroe Independent School District: 2001 Reading Odyssey; and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Library: Alamo Area Medical Information Project
  • 2001  Waxahachie High School Library, Bookmobile; Dr. Eugene Clark Library (Lockhart), LOCK.NET (Lockhart Neighborhood Electronic Training)
  • 2000  Austin Public Library, Día de los niños/Día de los libros;  South Texas Independent School District, Biblioteca las Americas
  • 1999  Plano Public Library Harrington Library, Circle of Success; Morehead Caney Creek Complex, Conroe ISD, STOMP (Student Teacher On-Line Mentoring Project)
  • 1998  Fort Bend County (Texas) Public Library, Distance Learning Center
  • 1997  Arlington Public Library (TX), Project S.T.A.R.
Created on Nov 6, 2012 | Last updated January 30, 2018