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Polly Tocktoo is presented 2013 CLIA Award
l to r: Carol Sturgulewski, Abbe Hensley, Sandy Parnell

In the photo above, Polly Tocktoo of Brevig Mission holds her daughter as she's presented with 2013 Contributions to Literacy in Alaska Award in Anchorage on October 11. Others present are, left to right, Carol Sturgulewski, Alaska Center for the Book, Abbe Hensley, executive director of Best Beginnings and Alaska First Lady Sandy Parnell.
Contribution to Literacy In Alaska Awards
Each year the Alaska Center for the Book presents Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) Awards. The awards recognize those persons and institutions who have made a significant contribution in the battle for literacy, to the literacy arts, or to the preservation of the written or spoken word in Alaska. Award winners have included librarians, teachers, writers, tutors and others dedicated to making the world a better place through the gift of language.
The winners of the 2014 CLIA Award are:

David Cheezem is proprietor of Fireside Books in Palmer. A nominator described him as “a tireless promoter of Alaskan writers,” hosting readings and other events to highlight their work. Cheezem, himself a writer and poet, holds an MFA in creative writing, and has also served as a borough school board member, planning commissioner, and president of the Palmer Arts Council. He and his wife established Fireside Books in 2001 as a place “where good writing was honored and celebrated.”
Joseph Gorski is Director of Technology and Federal Programs for the Kashunamiut School District in Chevak. Dr. Bob Whicker is director of the Consortium for Digital Learning of the Association of Alaska School Boards. The two helped form a team which translated an interactive children’s book series into the Chevak region’s Cup’ik language. The result is a series of the very first interactive storybooks written and narrated entirely in Cup’ik, helping readers of any age learn to read and speak the western Alaska language. The project has sparked interest in school districts around the state.
Nancy Lord was Alaska’s Writer Laureate from 2008-2010. The author of works of fiction, memoir, and non-fiction, she has also taught at the college level and at school residencies throughout the state, and is part of the core faculty for Kachemak Bay Writers Conference. Her honors include fellowships, artist residencies, a Pushcart Prize and the Celia Hunter Award of the Alaska Conservation Foundation. She is active in conservation and community-building, including chairing Homer’s successful new library campaign.
The Alaska Native Language Archive, housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library, works to preserve and digitize Alaska Native language materials. With origins in materials gathered by linguist Dr. Michael E. Krauss at the Alaska Native Language Center, Dr. Gary Holton, Stacey Baldridge, Wendy Camber, and Professor Emeritus Krauss have expanded and preserved the collection, and make it accessible to researchers and Native language speakers. The archive holds more than 15,000 documents in the 20 Alaska Native languages, including some of the earliest recordings available.
The CLIA Awards were presented Tuesday, July 15 at the Arts Building on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.
Founded in 1991, ACB is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. ACB participates in Reading Rendezvous, Letters about Literature, the National Book Festival, Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month, and more. For more information, see

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Trish Jenkins, President
Alaska Center for the Book
3600 Denali Street
Anchorage, AK 99503
fax: 907-786-4383 

Alaska Center for the Book
3600 Denali Street
Anchorage, AK 99503