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Upstart Award

Recognizes two libraries that have implemented creative marketing projects and/or promotions to enhance their visibility within their service community

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

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.


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