NLS recognizes outstanding accomplishments of more than 100 libraries serving persons who are blind or have a physical disability across the country and in U.S. territories. Forming the network of cooperating libraries, these state and privately funded agencies circulate NLS-produced braille and recorded materials and provide other services to eligible readers in their communities. Cooperating network libraries may receive funding from state, local, and/or federal sources.
A committee of librarians and consumer-organization representatives chooses finalists for the Network Library of the Year Award and the Network Subregional Library of the Year Award from among the nominated libraries based on mission support (as defined by the "American Library Association Revised Standards and Guidelines for Service"), creativity and innovation in providing service, and record of reader satisfaction. The four NLS network regional conference chairpersons recommend the final selections to the NLS director.
First presented in 2005, the awards usually are presented in June in Washington, DC.