Guest Blogger

Remembering Marilyn L. Miller

A leader in our profession, Marilyn L. Miller, ALSC President (1979 -1980), died on May 22nd at the age of 83.  Lillian Gerhardt offers a memorial tribute:

A few years ago, I stumbled on a statement that brought our late, great Marilyn Miller to mind.  It is from an essay by mid-20th century America’s most influential journalist, Walter Lippmann, after the death of FDR.  He said that “The genius of a great leader is to leave behind him a situation that common sense can deal with successfully.”

Change that “him” to  “her” and you will have a clear picture of MLM’s leadership as president of not only one but two of the American Library Association’s youth services divisions (AASL and ALSC)  and on through her presidency of all of ALA. Marilyn’s management of both her own life as well as her life’s work on behalf of libraries and librarians was certainly commonsensical. Add to that her good mind, her good nature,  her sense of humor plus a warm and welcoming cordiality with people young and old and you will cease to wonder why she was continuously able through out her long career to under take big projects and to run for office in the state and national library organizations to which  she belonged in Kansas, Michigan, and North Carolina and, of course, from the beginning of her career, ALA.

Marilyn had, from earliest childhood, a lifelong love affair with bound books. She was seldom without one in her purse or briefcase. The onrush of machines to gather, send, store and preserve all forms of information neither fazed nor over-impressed her.  She never wavered in her conviction that all of the electricity dependent gadgets as well as bound books require– for every age level–skilled librarians to help to teach them, to help themselves to live, and to learn through every sort of format for their self-education and entertainment.

Last, but certainly not least, Marilyn was certain that today’s librarians need to continue to work at growing themselves and the strength of their profession through their active membership in their state associations as well as ALA.


Our guest blogger today is Lillian Gerhardt. Lillian was ALSC President (1978-1979) and School Library Journal’s Editor-in-Chief (1972-1998).

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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