Awards & Scholarships

ABOS sponsors six awards: All award nominations open March 20, 2020. Submissions due August 1, 2020.


Sponsored by Farber Specialty Vehicles 

$300 Award

The ABOS John Philip Excellence in Outreach Award is given to recognize outstanding contributions and prominent leadership by an individual in Bookmobile and Outreach Services. John Philip, known to all as "Mr. Bookmobile", spent his long and honorable career as an advocate of Bookmobile and Outreach Services.

He is the "Father" of the National Bookmobile Conference which started in 1986 and has now evolved into the Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services. Through his strong leadership and high profile advocacy, Bookmobiles have been recognized as a viable library outreach services. This award honors his dedication and tireless work and serves as a pinnacle for all Bookmobile and Outreach staff to aspire to reach.

John Philip Award Nomination Link for 2020.


Fifteen (15) $500 travel awards, plus conference registration, in 2020!

Carol Combs Hole provided exemplary leadership on behalf of libraries, bookmobile and outreach services throughout her 32 year career as a professional public librarian. Carol freely shared her ideas, knowledge and sense of humor with bookmobile and outreach staff.

In 1989, Carol published The Bookmobile Songbook. The dedication states: "This book is dedicated to: The Road Warriors who daily start their engines and sally forth from public libraries everywhere to raise the library flag on new beachheads, and to Bernard Vavrek the only Library School Professor in America who cares about them." She sought to share wisdom so that the profession would continue to grow. She retired from distinguished service to the Alachua County Library District on Match 1, 2006 and died on October 1, 2007.

The fifteen (15) $500 travel awards include free conference registration and a stipend for his/her travel expenses and /or accommodations for the conference. The winners automatically will be registered for the conference.

Submissions are due by August 1, 2020.  All winners will be notified by August 25, 2020.

Carol Hole Award Nomination Link for 2020.


Sponsored by Farber Specialty Vehicles 

$1000 Award

In order to contribute to the education and training of library staff working in the area of bookmobile and outreach services, ABOS has created the Bernard Vavrek Scholarship.It will be awarded annually to a student who is currently enrolled and has completed at least one semester in a Library and/or Information Science graduate degree program, and who is interested in this particular field within the library profession.  A check will be sent directly to the ALA accredited library school where the applicant is currently enrolled to be applied to the next term of study.

Dr. Bernard Vavrek, Professor of Library Science and Chair of the Library Science Department at Clarion University, retired after teaching at Clarion from 1971-2008.  Along with John Philip, he co-founded the “Great American Bookmobile Conference” running it for many years until ABOS was formed and took over management of the conference. This scholarship honors Dr. Vavrek’s profound commitment to library science and, in particular, bookmobile and outreach services.

2020 Applications for the Bernard Vavrek Scholarship will open on March 20, 2020.


ABOS Rising Stars Award

$300 prize plus one year free membership to ABOS (3 awards presented in 2020)

Highlights the achievements of those new to the profession. Rising Stars are those people who display a passion for the bookmobile and outreach profession, both at work and via volunteer or association activities.  Rising Stars Award candidates must have worked in the bookmobile and outreach field for five years or less.  

The written statement of support should include:

  • why the nominee deserves the award (in 500 words or less).

  • how the nominee displays passion for the bookmobile and outreach profession

  • how the nominee makes an impact in the community they serve

  • two professional letters of recommendation

Please email application packet to

ABOS Innovation in Outreach Programming Award

$500 prize (1 award presented in 2020)

This award recognizes a library’s achievement in planning and implementing an innovative or creative outreach program, which has had a measurable impact on its community. Programs should be unique and cutting-edge.

Proposals should include and will be judged on the following:

  • Collaborative efforts of the staff and community in the planning and implementation process.

  • Program has made a meaningful difference and positive impact in the community.

  • Measurements of success in the community based on usage, program attendance, or greater community awareness.

The written statement of support should include:

  •  why the library deserves the award (in 750 words or less).

  •  two professional letters of recommendation

Please email application packet to

Outstanding Bookmobile Librarian Award

$300 Award

Presented annually to a bookmobile librarian, assistant, or driver in recognition of their continuous dedication and commitment to the bookmobile profession.

The written statement of support should include:

·       why the nominee deserves the award (in 500 words or less).

·       how the nominee displays passion for the bookmobile profession.

·       how the nominee makes an impact in the community they serve.

Outstanding Bookmobile Librarian Award Link for 2020.

2020 ABOS Awards Chair:

David Kelsey, Vice President ABOS

St. Charles Public Library

One South 6th Ave.

St. Charles, IL 60174

630-549-8969 (work)

630-464-9200 (cell)


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