Gwinnett County Public Library and the San José State University School of Information have selected Eké Williams of San José State University from a group of five finalists as the winner of the 2018 Innovative Librarians Award. The award recognizes library science graduate students who put forward new ideas that improve libraries and library services.

Williams, a Technology Training Supervisor at Brooklyn Public Library, will receive a $1,000 cash prize for his work on the Documentary Photography Bootcamp. The bootcamp is an innovative seven-week workshop aimed at educating disconnected youth in the East New York community.



Eké Williams, San José State University (winner)

Innovation: Documentary Photography Bootcamp

Cassandra Hickman, Pratt Institute School of Information

Innovation: KNRC Youth Radio: A Podcasting Program for Teens

Shannon Bland, University of Maryland-College Park

Innovation: Vision Center at Waldorf West

Bianca Hezekiah, Pratt Institute School of Information

Innovation: League of Readers Book Club (LORe)

Hilda Loh-Guan, University of Southern California

Innovation: Empowering Urban Transitional Aged Youth via Strategic Partnerships


Nominations were blind-judged by public librarians and library and information science educators with years of frontline, managerial and administrative experience.

“We’re thrilled to offer this opportunity to library science students,” says Michael Casey, GCPL Director of Customer Experience. “This year’s innovations were amazing and we’re so happy that we can share them with libraries around the world.”

“The premise of this award was to celebrate our innovative librarians and recognize their ingenious ideas,” says Dr. Sandra Hirsh, professor and director at the SJSU School of Information. “They may be early in their careers, but they are already reshaping public libraries! I couldn’t be more pleased with the response to the call for submissions and the creative thinking happening in our field.”

The award is open to all students who are currently enrolled and pursuing a graduate degree in Library Science, or who have graduated with an MLS or MLIS within the past two years.

For more information and to read submissions from all five finalists, visit