Joyce Madkins Sumbi Emerging Leaders Award


The Joyce Madkins Sumbi Emerging Leaders Award is granted to a librarian who, through his or her practice and example, provides inspiration and leadership in promoting exemplary library services to individuals of all ages and ethnicities.

This award recognizes a librarian in California for worthwhile professional contributions to promote access and promotional opportunities for all.  It seeks to encourage librarians to pursue mid- or high-level administrative positions in order to successfully effect change benefiting library users, potential librarians, and colleagues.

Conferences, workshops, or other continuing education activities may be used to assist with this mission. The award consists of $500.00 and a citation.

Eligible Candidates

  1. Identifies as Black/African American
  2. Master of Library Science degree from an ALA accredited college/university
  3. Must be currently employed in a library in California
  4. Must have at least three years of progressive library experience
  5. Must be either in a supervisory, managerial, or coordinator position
  6. Strongly encouraged to be a participating member of CLBC

Award Criteria

Specific contributions may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Recruitment of librarians of color to the profession
  2. Planning or implementation of programs reaching ethnically and culturally diverse library users.
  3. Advocacy for recruitment of ethnically and culturally diverse librarians to the profession
  4. Research and scholarship regarding effective models for exemplary service to library users
  5. Professional development programming to promote leadership and managerial qualities in librarians
  6. Mentoring librarians of color to promote excellence in the profession

Award Description


Joyce Sumbi was a  mentor and an inspiration to librarians throughout the state.  This award is named in her honor because she was an exceptional leader, organizer, innovator, visionary, storyteller, writer-researcher and tireless community advocate for excellence in library services.  She was hired in 1960 by the County of Los Angeles Public Library and served in various positions for 32 years.  Mrs. Sumbi was the first African American librarian to serve as Regional Administrator of ten cities and seventeen branch libraries in the Los Angeles County area.

Submission of Applications

Nominations are due by May 30, 2024.  Candidates will complete the nomination form which includes contact information and a formal statement describing the nominee’s achievements.   Winners are selected based on the merit and significance of their contribution(s) and their demonstrated capacity for increasing their leadership role in the profession.

Send completed applications as an email attachment to:

Shirley Coaston ( [email protected]). In the subject line put: Sumbi Award.

Click here for Nomination Form

Explain in one page or less why you are nominating this person and how the individual fits the award criteria.  If you are submitting any supporting materials, please limit it to one additional page.  Thank you.

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California Librarians Black Caucus

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