Skip to main content

State Librarian/State Librarian's Excellence Award

State Librarian Randy Riley Hero Image
Library Of Michigan

State Librarian/State Librarian's Excellence Award

State Librarian of Michigan

The position of Michigan's State Librarian is derived from "An act to provide for the appointment of a Librarian" enacted by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan in 1828. The librarian initially served as a caretaker of the territorial library that contained the laws and government documents used by the territorial council. Following the appointment of Harriet A. Tenney, the state librarian position evolved to take on an advocacy role that both promotes the development of libraries in Michigan communities and the collection/preservation of material at the Library of Michigan that reflects the story of the State. The current State Librarian of Michigan is Randy Riley.

List of Territorial/State Librarians

  • Randy Riley 2014-present
  • Nancy R. Robertson 2005-2014
  • Christie Pearson Brandau 2000-2005
  • George M. Needham 1996-1999
  • Library Staff (no official State Librarian) 1994-1996
  • James Wilson Fry 1984-1994
  • Francis X. Scannell 1968-1983
  • Genevieve M. Casey 1962-1968
  • Loleta D. Fyan 1941-1961
  • Grace S. McClure 1935-1941
  • Lillian S. Navarre 1933-1935
  • Evelyn S. Mershon 1933
  • Mary E. Frankhauser 1923-1933
  • Mary C. Spencer 1893-1923
  • Margaret Custer Calhoun 1891-1893
  • Harriet A. Tenney 1869-1891
  • Jesse Eugene Tenney 1859-1869
  • George W. Swift 1857-1859
  • Dewitt C. Leach 1855-1857
  • John J. Bush 1854-1855
  • Charles P. Bush 1853-1854
  • Charles J. Fox 1851-1853
  • Henry Tisdale 1850-1851
  • Moses B. Hess 1847-1850
  • Oren Marsh 1837-1840
  • Calvin Charles Jackson 1837^
  • Kintzing Pritchette 1836*
  • Gershom Mott Williams 1834-1836
  • William B. Hunt 1828-1834

To find more information on the history of the Library of Michigan and the role of the State Librarians, go to the Historic Role of the Library of Michigan section of the library's website. Additional content can be found on the Library of Michigan History page on Library of Michigan Digital.

*Soon after Williams resigned in 1836, the act that provided for a territorial council librarian was repealed. The territorial library was placed under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State, and Kintzing Pritchette became the state librarian ex-officio.

^One month later after Michigan became a state, the former territorial council library became the state library, placed under the control of the governor's secretary, Calvin Charles Jackson.

State Librarian's Excellence Award

Application Information

The Library of Michigan Foundation's State Librarian's Excellence Award will be awarded to a library of any type (public, academic, school, special, tribal, etc.), including branch libraries, that exemplifies excellence in customer service. One (1) library in the state of Michigan will receive this prestigious award each year. The recipient library will receive a $3,000 cash prize and a trophy for display in its public area. Two Library of Michigan Foundation Citations of Excellence will be presented and the recipient libraries will each receive $1,000 and a small trophy for display.


The absolute deadline for 2023 nominations is Friday, August 11, 2023. There will be no extensions. Submissions will be accepted online only.

Evaluation Factors

Include demonstrating that your library provides superior service to its customers and community through library programs and staff interactions with customers and the service community.

Nomination Submission

Library directors, trustees, library users, administrators, or parent agency representatives may make nominations.
*Note: Nominations entered should be for the library, not for the library director.

Nominations may be submitted via the online application, linked below. You will need to create a username and password to access and complete the application. If you have previously created an account when applying for a grant from the Library of Michigan, you may use that same username and password.

Submit an Application

The application period for the 2023 State Librarian's Excellence Award is now closed. Award recipients will be notified in September. We look forward to sharing this award celebration with you at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference in October.

Submit an Application

Return to a Saved or Submitted Application

Nominations must be supported by at least three letters of recommendation from the Library's constituency (patrons/customers, members of governing bodies, community organizations or groups, others you feel are relevant).

Selection panel representatives include the State Librarian, the director of the SLEA- winning library from the previous year, and representatives from the Library of Michigan, an academic library, a public library, a school library, and a special library.

The award recipients will be recognized by the State Librarian at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference in October.

Contact Person

Lori Poznanski-Mason, Administrative Assistant to the State Librarian
Library of Michigan
Phone: 517-335-1518

Past State Librarian's Excellence Award Recipients

  • 2023 - Fremont Area District Library
  • 2022 - Dearborn Public Library
  • 2021 - Bellaire Public Library
  • 2020 - No award due to COVID19 pandemic
  • 2019 - Capital Area District Libraries
  • 2018 - Bay County Library System
  • 2017 - East Lansing Public Library
  • 2016 - Benzonia Public Library
  • 2015 - Niles District Library
  • 2014 - Grand Valley State University Library
  • 2013 - Litchfield District Library
  • 2012 - Parker Middle School Library
  • 2011 - Novi Public Library
  • 2010 - Adrian Public Library
  • 2009 - Stair Public Library
  • 2008 - Marshall District Library
  • 2007 - Rawson Memorial District Library
  • 2006 - Washtenaw County Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled
  • 2005 - Grace A. Dow Memorial Library
  • 2004 - Portage District Library
  • 2003 - Otsego County Library
  • 2003 - Genesee District Library
  • 2001 - Houghton Lake Public Library

Updated: 10/12/2023