ACL member libraries provide a variety of innovative and new services, programs, and resources to their campus communities. The ACL Award for Excellence in Innovation seeks to recognize these member libraries that are seeking to improve library service on their campus. As ACL member libraries have varying staff sizes and serve a wide variation of populations, this award recognizes that what is innovative for one library will differ from another library and that each library is committed to serving its unique campus community. In addition, innovation may be exhibited in a wide variety of ways which may include one-time events, an annual program, or ongoing service as examples.

Pictured Left to Right: Micah Odor, Dean of the Russel School of Ministry, James Lloyd, Library Director, Cindy MacMillian, Library Assistant and Laura Brown, Assistant Library Director

Russell School of Ministry, Florence, Kentucky

Elliott Library
Library Director: James Lloyd
Topic: Displays and programs that enhance the user’s knowledge of the Bible and its historical background

The 2023 Award for Excellence in Innovation is awarded to the Russell School of Ministry and the Elliott Library staff. The winning innovation showcases the unique resources and collections available within the Elliott Library. While the collection is very valuable for true scholars of the history of Christianity, the associated programming went beyond displays and exhibits to help to make the resources available to the general public and heighten interest in and awareness of these historical artifacts.

“We are excited about the doors of opportunities that all of this will open in the months and years to come as we help people understand that libraries can be more than a warehouse of books. They can be sources of inspiration and education. Our small institution is just getting off the ground, but already, the library is what draws in visitors. We believe that this will increase enrollment of the Russell School of Ministry, help its students to understand Bible background better, and interest people in general in the study of God’s Word.”
James Lloyd

Is your library doing something new and innovative? Consider sharing by completing an application.


Criteria to apply:

  1. A staff member of the applying library must be a current ACL member.
  2. The innovation must be something you have implemented for the first time or significantly updated in your library within the past academic year (12-18 months).
  3. Winning applicants must be willing to present their library innovation as a workshop or poster presentation at the following year’s ACL conference and/or write an article about their innovation for The Christian Librarian.

Judging Criteria:

Applications will be judged based on the innovativeness of the idea for their campus and staff size. Excellence will be based on the following factors:
  • Impact on the library
  • How the innovation helps the library to better achieve its mission
  • Impact on their campus, specifically students or faculty, or the wider community
  • Extent to which the innovation was implemented at optimum levels
  • Sustainability of the idea (if applicable)


Applications will be judged by a committee of ACL members representing various sized institutions. Judges will not be from libraries that have submitted applications.


ACL Award for Excellence in Innovation winners will be recognized with a plaque. Winning libraries are encouraged to arrange an opportunity for the plaque to be announced at a time and place where this recognition can be celebrated by their entire campus and administration. A letter to the library director and to the college or university administration will be sent from ACL. The college or university will also be included in a list on the ACL website with a brief summary of the innovation.

Past Recipients

2022 – Colorado Christian University – The Clifton L. Fowler Library

2021 – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Library