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TLA 2020 Award Winners Announced

TLA News

Congratulations to all of the 2020 TLA Award winners! We are grateful for your service and hard work.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Cindy Buchanan

Cindy Buchanan, the Program Director for Library Services at Aldine Independent School District (Aldine ISD) was recognized with the Texas Library Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Under her leadership, the Aldine ISD library program has been through a great deal of growth and change. She managed a large project to realign library collections to meet new grade level groupings that impacted most of the schools in the district.
Buchanan has hired, trained, and championed her librarians to become state leaders in their work, with programming such as STEM and Makerspace integration and Name that Book competitions.

Through her relationship building and advocacy, Buchanan was able to grow the library services department staff to include a digital learning specialist to help her train and support the 80 libraries and 67,000+ students in her district.

Buchanan has served as the Program Director for Library Services at Aldine ISD since 2012. Previous to that, she was a system administrator, librarian and teacher with Aldine ISD for many years.

Librarian of the Year Award: Eddy Smith

Edward “Eddy” Smith, the Executive Director of the Abilene Library Consortium, won the Librarian of the Year Award from the Texas Library Association.

The Abilene Library Consortium is a regional nonprofit organization for all types of libraries, museums and information organizations.
Smith was selected because he is an outstanding model of librarianship. He is a broadband evangelist who calls the expansion of broadband to rural areas the economic equivalent of farm-to-market roads.

His advocacy for broadband in rural communities has earned him an appointment to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council, which was established this past legislative session to identify barriers and study solutions related to broadband development in unserved areas. This appointment spotlights the value of a librarian in working to bring equity of resources to all communities.

One of his most impressive contributions was making several visits to Austin to testify before the Texas Legislature during the 2019 session in support of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) Sunset Reauthorization, TSLAC Budget Exceptional Items, and for broadband legislation.

Outstanding Services Award: Teri Lesesne

Teri Lesesne received the Outstanding Services Award from the Texas Library Association. Lesesne is a Professor of Library Science at Sam Houston State University. Lesesne has dedicated the last 23 years to educating library science students at Sam Houston State University’s Department of Library Science and Technology. Her commitment to preparing school librarians in the area of literature, both children’s and young adult, is impressive. If we use the average of 15 students per semester and multiply that out by her semesters and years of service, Lesesne has taught over 3,105 library science graduate students in her career.

Lesesne has presented numerous times at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference, district library workshops across Texas, regional workshops and many others. She was also the TLA designated attendee to the International Book Fair in Monterrey, Mexico. She has received numerous grants that support libraries, including one that funded 40 library science students in South Texas to pursue their MLS (Masters in Library Science) certification.

Online, Lesesne is known for her blog for librarians, especially in the area of young adult literature (check it out at and you can follow her on Twitter, @ProfessorNana.

Distinguished Service Award: Julie Todaro

Julie Todaro, the Dean of Library Services at Austin Community College, was recognized with the Texas Library Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

Todaro served as the President of the American Library Association from 2016-2017. The focus of her ALA presidency was on the value of librarians, which resonated with librarians from all types of libraries.

She is the author of Library Management for the Digital Age: A New Paradigm (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) and Mentoring A to Z (Neal-Schuman, 2015).

Todaro has been a passionate library and librarian advocate throughout her career. She possesses a deep knowledge and understanding of the library profession. Her publications, workshops, research, and consulting spread across disciplines and cover topics from library management and leadership, facilities management and emergency procedures to customer service.

Libraries Change Communities Award: Alma Dalia Salinas

Alma Dalia Salinas, the Director of Library Services and Instructional Resources at La Joya Independent School District (La Joya ISD) in Hidalgo County, Texas, received the Libraries Change Communities Award from the Texas Library Association.

Salinas is a caring community member who passionately believes that building strong literacy in children and parents will bring success not only to individuals, but to the community as a whole. She is a staunch, research-based advocate who believes that providing an environment where reading together, collaborating with children and building a bridge that connects home and school will help to establish successful and cohesive families. Through her hard work and innovation, she has changed the lives of many students, parents and community members, with her projects that include school buses with QR codes that link to books, Fall and Spring Literacy Tertulias (literary gatherings), access to Little Free Libraries and participation with Parent Book Clubs.

Benefactor Award: The Edouard Foundation

The Edouard Foundation received the annual Benefactor Award from the Texas Library Association.

Funds from The Edouard Foundation supported reading initiatives benefiting libraries in Texas and the communities they serve. The Edouard Foundation has contributed $28,000 since 2016 to the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas (FLAT) to use in support of programs at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC).

Additionally, the Edouard Foundation supported the creation of historical research scholarships, which have allowed for new and exciting scholarly works delving into important aspects of Texas history, such as the state’s criminal justice system and the experience of African Americans in Texas. The Edouard Foundation has also sponsored several activities at TSLAC since 2016. The Edouard Foundation’s gifts have enabled FLAT and TSLAC to partner with the non-profit organization First Book for the Lone Star Dia program. The partnership was extremely well-received, with 40 libraries receiving about 2,400 books in communities, including Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso, as well as smaller towns such as Ozona, Johnson City, and Eldorado.