Joyce Cunningham Award


This award is given to a Public Library Board [or two Public Library Boards that participated in a collaborative effort] that has demonstrated a high level of collaboration and innovation to produce outstanding results. 

To apply: Complete the online nomination form by November 15
For questions or more information, contact

To view more information on eligibility and nomination procedures
To view past recipients


A high-performance Public Library Board can be defined as a group of people with specific roles and complementary talents and skills, aligned with and committed to a common purpose, and who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation to produce superior results.
A high performance Public Library Board is regarded as tight knit, focused on their goal, and have supportive processes that will enable any board member to surmount any barriers in achieving the board's goals.  Within the team, individual board members are highly skilled and are able to interchange their roles.  Also, leadership within the team is not vested in a single individual; instead the leadership role is taken up by various team members, according to the need at that moment in time


Some common characteristics leading to success are:
  • Participative leadership: using a democratic leadership style that involves and engages board members to form an effective team
  • Effective decision-making:using a blend of rational and intuitive decision making methods, depending on that nature of the decision task
  • Open and clear communication:ensuring that the team mutually constructs shared meaning, using effective communication methods and channels
  • Valued diversity:valuing a diversity of experience and background in team, contributing to a diversity of viewpoints, leading to better decision making and solutions
  • Mutual trust:trusting in the board as an entity, and developing mutual trust between library staff and the board
  • Managing conflict:dealing with conflict openly, transparently and in a timely manner so as to uphold team morale
  • Clear goals: developing goals using SMART* criteria; each goal must have personal meaning and resonance for each team member, building commitment and engagement
  • Defined roles and responsibilities:each board member understands what they must do (and what they must not do) to demonstrate their commitment to the team and to support team success
  • Coordinative relationship:ensuring the bonds between the board members allow them to seamlessly coordinate their work to achieve both efficiency and effectiveness
  • Positive atmosphere:developing an overall team culture that is open, transparent, positive, future-focused and able to deliver success
  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.


2017 Award Recipient - Inaugural Presentation


West Grey Public Library Board

The West Grey Public Library Board goes above and beyond its expected responsibilities. The Board members are wonderful advocates for the library with the municipal government and within the community, and volunteer in numerous capacities. Our Board members are invested in libraries and are always seeking ways to improve the visibility of the library within West Grey and beyond. They support staff and volunteers in accomplishing excellent customer service and involvement. Kim Storz, CEO/Chief Librarian, West Grey Public Library

2016 Award Recipient - Inaugural Presentation


Windsor Public Library Board

This board supports excellent customer service, teamwork, serving the community, plus their personal commitment to providing efficient use of public funds and constant recalibration and capitalization on opportunities to improve. By demonstrating competence, foresight and planning, the board succeeded in convincing its city of a need to undergo a massive facility renewal and restructuring, that will positively impact the future of the library and provide a road map for a sustainable public library service to evolve over the next 20 years.  The board has worked to re-establish channels of communication with City Hall; with the result that a partnership of trust, understanding and mutual respect is now in place.  OLBA Council and Awards' Committee