Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement Award

About the Award

The Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA) recognizes those who have achieved excellence in librarianship over an extended (over 20 years) period of service and who have made significant and lasting contributions to REFORMA, as well as to the Latino/x/é and the Spanish-speaking communities. The award consists of a commemorative plaque and a $500 stipend. The recipient will be honored at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

The deadline for submitting nominations is April 15, 2024.

FAQ's about the award

Questions regarding the application process may be addressed to Madeline Peña, Awards Committee Chair, at awards@reforma.org.

About Elizabeth Martinez

Throughout her illustrious career, Elizabeth Martinez has been known for her visionary leadership, innovative ideas and advocacy for cultural diversity. Elizabeth in collaboration with Dr. Amulfo Trejo founded and organized REFORMA, The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, and the Committee to Recruit Mexican American Librarians in California. She co-chaired the first ALA policy on diversity “Equity at Issue” in 1986 and as ALA executive director she developed the Spectrum Scholarship program. Since 1997, ALA has awarded more than 800 Spectrum Scholarships to library school students from diverse backgrounds. Her commitment to communities of color and the poor has inspired generations of librarians of all backgrounds who have benefited from her leadership in the field.

Ms. Martinez has been the director of the Los Angeles Public Library, the Orange County Public Library, and the Salinas Public Library systems. She was instrumental in the implementation of Knowledge River, a national program for the recruitment of Hispanic and Native American librarians at the University of Arizona and has taught thousands of students at the University of Arizona, San Jose State University, Simmons College and UCLA. 

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the ALA Equality Award, the Elizabeth Martinez Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh PA, the Elizabeth Martinez REFORMA LA Chapter Scholarship, the Pen West Award, the MANA Award, and many others.

Elizabeth A. Martinez Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

2024 - Dr. Romelia Salinas
2023 - Lucia Martinez Gonzalez
​2022 - Oralia Garza de Cortés
2021 - Patrick Sullivan
2020 - Luis Chaparro and Susan C. Luévano
2019 - Camila Alire and Orlando Archibeque
2018 - Luis Herrera and Teresa "Tess" Tobin
2017 - Ana Elba Pavon
2016 - Dr. Kathleen de la Peña McCook
2015 - Loida García-Febo
2014 - Sandra Rios Balderrama

REFORMA Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA) - FAQ

1. How many and what type of letters of recommendation are needed?

No more than three statements of support may be submitted. The statements should reflect the attributes of the nominee in the most positive light and in accordance with the award qualifications. The statements should come from individuals who can best describe and attest to the nominee's performance in meeting the objectives of this award.

2. Does the nominee need to have worked for a certain number of years as a librarian to be eligible?

The LAA is meant to honor the nominee’s body of work in achieving excellence in librarianship over an extensive service career, and the nominee’s significant and lasting contributions to REFORMA and the Latino/x/é and the Spanish-speaking community. The nominee’s contributions to REFORMA during a career lasting over 20 years will carry a slightly heavier weight when the final score is tabulated.

3. Does the nominee have to be a REFORMA member?

Yes. Nominees and/or awardees must be members in good standing by the application deadline.

4. What type and level of lifetime achievements are considered worthy of recognition?

Types and levels of library service include but are not limited to leadership, administration, educating and mentoring new librarians, outreach, advocacy, technology-based services, collection development, information literacy, publications, or initiating a program or service that benefits the Latino/x/é and the Spanish-speaking community. Candidates will also be judged on their contributions to librarianship and REFORMA and/or on behalf of REFORMA, at the chapter, national and/or international level.

5. What comprises a complete nomination packet?

A completed application must include:
  1. Complete online nomination form.
  2. An essay or statement of the nominee’s achievements from the nominator.
  3. Up to three statements of support.
Incomplete packets or packets received after the deadline will be disqualified from consideration.

6. Who do I contact if I have questions or need advice?

Questions may be addressed to awards@reforma.org.