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The Executive Board of the Catholic Library Association established the John Brubaker Award (plaque and citation) in 1978 to recognize an outstanding work of literary merit, considered on the basis of its significant interest to the library profession which was published in Catholic Library World, the official journal of the Association.

The memorial award honors John Brubaker who served CLA as advertising representative for CLW for over twenty years until his death in 1977. A panel of judges selects the winning article from the volume of CLW previous to the year of the annual convention.

The first Brubaker award was presented at the 58th annual CLA Convention in Philadelphia, April 18, 1979. The winning article must be precise in its writing, free of ambiguity, orderly in its presentation of ideas, economical in expression, smooth in its presentation, considerate of its readers, original, and stimulating. Any author is eligible for consideration.

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