Spotlight Award

Purpose and Criteria for Selection:

Established in 2005, this award recognizes the contributions of individuals who work for the good of the archives profession and of archival collections, and whose work would not typically receive public recognition. The nominee(s) should have achieved distinction in one or more of the following ways:

  • Participating in special projects.
  • Exhibiting tireless committee or advocacy work.
  • Responding effectively to an unforeseen or pressing need or emergency.
  • Contributing innovative or creative ideas to the profession.
  • Performing extraordinary volunteerism.
  • Quietly but effectively promoting the profession.


Awarded to an individual archivist or a group of up to five archivists who have collaborated on a project. Preference is given to archivists working in smaller repositories, especially those without institutional support for professional activities.

Nomination Requirements:

A completed nomination form.

Sponsor and Funding:

The Society of American Archivists Foundation. 


A certificate and complimentary registration for the individual recipient or group (of up to five individuals) to the SAA Annual Meeting occurring in the year in which the award is presented.

First Awarded:


Selection Committee:

The Spotlight Award Subcommittee of the SAA Awards Committee consists of three members of the Society of American Archivists and one of the co-chairs of the Awards Committee (ex officio).  One member of the subcommittee shall be appointed each year by the SAA President-elect to serve a three-year term. The senior member of the subcommittee in years of service shall serve as its chair and shall present the award during the Awards Ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting.

Submission Deadline and Nomination Form:

All nominations shall be submitted to SAA by February 28 of each year.  CLICK HERE to download the application form.

Spotlight Award Recipients:

2006:   Emilie Leumas

2007:   Alan Harris Stein, Chicago Oral History Roundtable for service as “Katrina Relief Librarian”

2008:   The staff of Afghan Film

2009:   Not awarded

2010:   Ann Russell

2011:   Teresa Kiser

2012:   Cindy Ditzler and Joan Metzger

2013:   Terry Brown, volunteer archivist, Houston Symphony and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2014:   Kate Theimer, Spontaneous Scholarship Program

2015:   Anne Ostendarp, multimedia archivist for the Knights of Columbus and a consulting and project archivist