The library is committed to celebrating the individuals who make significant contributions to Denver and specific communities. Each year, the Denver Public Library produces several award ceremonies to honor outstanding individuals who make Denver a better place to live, work and play.
In 1999, the Denver Public Library Commission established the Eleanor Gehres Award in recognition of her longtime service and contributions to the Western History and Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library. Her passion for enlarging library audiences and developing a remarkable and accessible research collection inspired the creation of the Eleanor Gehres Award, first bestowed on her shortly before her death in 2000.
The Award honors an individual or an organization that has made a significant contribution of library materials (books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, works of art or other items), scholarship, life-long service or bequest, thereby enhancing the Western History Collection and its value to the community.
A former library staff member and community advocate, Juanita Gray helped start the Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame in 1973. The Juanita Gray award honors African-American men, women and youth who make outstanding contributions to the Denver Metro area and who exemplify the ideals and spirit represented by Gray’s commitment to the Denver community. A community-driven committee works with the library to nominate and select the winners of the award and the Hall of Fame inductees. The ceremony is held in February as part of Black History Month.
Latina Legacy Circle
The Latina Legacy Circle was founded in 2015 to honor the spirit of Lena L. Archuleta, an educator, community activist, librarian and founder of many early Latino organizations in Denver. Archuleta is known for her legacy of service and civic contributions. Women nominated into the Latina Legacy Circle raise funds to support programs and services at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library in West Denver.
Each September, as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the library hosts the Latino Community Service Awards. The Lena L. Archuleta and Eric J. Duran Community Service Awards recognize outstanding Latino leaders who take an active role in the Latino community, above and beyond paid employment. Likewise, the César Chávez Latino Leadership Hall of Fame honors Latino leaders who have made major contributions in a particular field that positively impact Denver’s community.