Kelvin Watson Named American Library Association Medal of Excellence Award Winner

Las Vegas, NV, United States, April 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kelvin Watson, executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, has been awarded the American Library Association (ALA) Medal of Excellence Award. This annual award, presented by the ALA and sponsored by OCLC, recognizes creative leadership in library management, library training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.

“The jury for the 2023 Medal of Excellence award is delighted to honor Kelvin Watson for his many accomplishments during a long, pioneering, and accomplished career as a leader in public library management,” according to a statement from the ALA.

Among the achievements specifically noted by the Medal of Excellence jury, and the many colleagues and admirers who wrote in support of this award, are Watson’s outstanding service to the communities he has served, and his development of partnerships at many levels.

Watson was described by various nominators as “visionary,” “engaged and connected,” “a true champion in our community and in each life that his work touches;” and as “someone who has the unique ability to guide a group of individuals toward achieving a common goal.”

The jury was especially impressed by the number of commendations received from colleagues outside the library industry. One partner noted that “Kelvin demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the community…and has made a tremendous impact in the lives of some of our most underserved populations.”  Another wrote that “Kelvin is engaged, accessible, and supportive” as he “drives the advancement of library innovation.” This commitment to serving all people, in ways that meet their unique needs and circumstances, demonstrates in an exemplary way his “achievement for recent creative leadership of high order” that the Medal of Excellence is designed to honor, according to the ALA.

“I am extremely honored to accept the Medal of Honor from the ALA, and humbled by the words of our community partners who nominated me,” said Watson, who joined the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District in 2021. “Librarians are purveyors of free speech in society and it is our privilege, in this role, to teach information literacy to all ages.”

Watson oversees 25 branches run by 600+ employees, spanning 8,000 square miles across Clark County, Nevada. Working with a $77 million budget and a collection of 3.2 million items, Watson has brought innovative, award-winning leadership to Nevada’s largest library system. His deep experience in fundraising, technology, program development, and demonstrated success in addressing the digital divide has brought a new era to this growing metropolitan area. One of the most highly respected thought leaders in the library industry, Kelvin is credited with expanding his customer base in multiple library management roles through outreach efforts to underserved and diverse populations.

The 2023 Medal of Excellence will be presented on June 25 at the ALA President’s Program during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

About Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
The award-winning Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is an independent taxing entity that serves a diverse community across 8,000 square miles. Through its 25 branches and website, the Library District offers a collection of 3.2 million items, including books, movies, music (including streaming and downloadable), online resources, and free programs for all ages. The Library District is a vibrant and vital member of the community offering limitless learning; business and career advancement; government and social services support; and best of all, a place where customers find a sense of culture and community. For more information, and to support Library District programs, please visit



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