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A Section of the Rhode Island Library Association

COLA Awards

Every year COLA recognizes people and organizations who have made significant contributions to the quality of Rhode Island libraries.

Two scholarships are awarded to RI residents enrolled in URI’s GSLIS: one Linda Aldrich School Library Scholarship and one William Bergeron Public Library Scholarship to students whose records of academic achievement and professional engagement signal future contributions to RI libraries.

COLA also recognizes exceptional service by Rhode Island Friends of the Library groups. by awarding up to three William E. Reeves Friends Awards. Friends groups may apply in the categories of fundraising, programming, or outreach. Click here for an application. 

Also each year, a “Sweetheart of the Year” is chosen. COLA’s sweethearts have been people who excel in library advocacy and commitment to RI libraries and COLA’s mission. Among those visionaries are Senators Claiborne Pell and Jack Reed, who have supported library service across the nation, as well as the late Alan Axelrod, who knew how to galvanize library supporters to action.

COLA looks forward to increasing library cooperation among all types of libraries throughout RI as it advocates for legislation that benefits every citizen of the State. With COLA’s energetic, enthusiastic advocacy, the future looks bright for library service in Rhode Island.

COLA is seeking submissions from 
Friends, Trustees, or Directors for our 
William E. Reeves Friends Award 2021 

Over the past year, your libraries and librarians have been called on to make one adjustment after another. You’ve been there to support them, and through it all, you’ve demonstrated enormous creativity. We want to celebrate you!

The RI Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) William E. Reeves Awards recognize the activities of Friends groups in one or more categories of programs and events: Fundraising, Outreach, Education, and/or Community Service. This year we add a category: Pandemic Adaptation

We invite a single submission from your library Friends group (or Board of Trustees acting as a Friends group) to our panel. Your group is eligible if you hold a current institutional membership in COLA, the section of the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) for grassroots library supporters. We look forward to honoring your achievements at this year’s (virtual) annual meeting on Tuesday, April 6th at 6:30pm; to allow time for evaluation, the judges must receive your entry by Thursday, April 1st to

Since we were unable to hold a meeting in 2020, all programs since spring 2019 will be eligible for consideration.In your email submission to COLA please include the following information:

Name of Friends Group

Mailing Address


Title of Program/Event

Date of Program/Event

Lead Person for Program/Event

Category of Program/Event

Work Phone Number

Mobile Phone Number

Also, please provide COLA with a description of your Program/Event and the results achieved. Attach available photos, flyers, and other relevant supporting material. One submission per Friends Group.

Email all of the above information to:

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