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Demco/Upstart Innovative Programming Award

Recognizes two libraries that have implemented innovative programs that enhance their visibility within their service community

Upstart/Demco Award Logo

Award Mission

Through recognition and ceremony, to make good ideas and practices of an innovative program visible and, thereby, enlarge the history of choices and alternatives that others can draw upon to design programs to fit the unique characteristics of their own institutions and the communities they serve.

The Demco/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 innovative programs that other organizations can drawn upon, adapt, replicate and scale to fit the unique characteristics of their institutions and the communities they serve.

The awards will be presented at the TLA Annual Conference. 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 2020 award, it must have started after February 2017 but before February 2019.
  • 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. Only electronic applications will be accepted.

Submission Requirements: A complete application submitted via Google Forms is required. Applicants may also upload supporting documentation, files, links, or visuals that were created at any stage of the innovative project that demonstrated the project’s creativity and impact (e.g. press releases, videos, graphics, local newspaper article scans, surveys, etc.).


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