ALSC Board


Philadelphia, PA honored the 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner, when Mayor Jim Kenney officially declared July 19, 2016 to be Jerry Pinkney Day.  Festivities were held all around the town to honor the 2016 Coretta Scott King- Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Winner and native son of this proud city.  The highlight of the day was an auditorium program at the Free Library of Philadelphia with Jerry Pinkney in conversation with author Lorene Cary.  I may be starting a rumor, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a future collaboration from them.  I took advantage of the book signing and photo op that ended the evening, and the result is the photo of Jerry Pinkney and me, one of his many Philly fans.

Betsy Orsburn and Jerry Pinkney (Photo courtesy Betsy Orsburn)
Betsy Orsburn and Jerry Pinkney (Photo courtesy Betsy Orsburn)

I continued my summer celebration of Art found in children’s books by visiting the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA.  “Get the Picture” is a special exhibition of contemporary children’s book illustration currently featured through October 9, 2016 at this lovely museum and preserved grounds.  Located an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, it is world-famous for its Wyeth family collections.   The curated show includes eight award-winning children’s book illustrators in alphabetical order:  Sophie Blackall, Bryan Collier, Raul Colon, Marla Frazee, Jon Klassen, Melissa Sweet, David Wiesner, and Mo Willems.  Before leaving, I lingered awhile visiting with old-favorites from the museum’s Heritage collections including some of N.C. Wyeth’s oil paintings illustrating adventure stories from Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne.

ALSC’s strategic planning has continued despite the heat of summer.  An online community forum conducted by consultant Kathryn Deiss was held July 28th with a small focus group of interested ALSC members.   Next we will begin to analyze and synthesize all the information collected last week and from the Orlando focus groups and planning sessions.   A future opportunity to take part in ALSC’s strategic planning will be coming sometime in late October when we schedule and host a larger Community Forum to share the next steps in planning ALSC’s organizational strategy.   Stay tuned for more details in September.

It’s just 6 weeks and counting until the ALSC 2016 Virtual Institute becomes a reality on September 15 & 16th.  “Believe.  Build.  Become.”  is a very apt theme for ALSC’s innovative new approach to our highly regarded educational conference, where we will pioneer a new method of presentation by moving into the Virtual World.  Join ALSC online for two full days packed with nine program sessions that are each 75 minutes in length on a range of topics including advocacy, early literacy, media mentorship, STEM programming, and inclusive children’s literature, and featuring a Big Idea Session keynote.  In addition to Q&A sessions after each program, Virtual Institute attendees will have the opportunity to network through moderated discussion forums. Best practices, hot topics, and practical tips and tricks will be shared. Attendees can join the discussion on a pre-populated topic, or throw out a topic of your own!  Registration for the 2016 ALSC Virtual Institute is open and can be found at

Speaking of educational opportunities, August brings the opening of ALSC’s 2017 professional award application for the Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship. Can you picture yourself this coming winter or spring in sunny Gainesville, Florida enjoying subsidized individual study into an historical Children’s Literature topic of your choosing?  If yes, then check online for more details at   The Bechtel Fellowship provides a $4000 stipend to allow a qualified children librarian to spend a month or more reading and studying at the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, which contains a collection of 130,000 volumes of children’s books published before 1950.  The deadline for the Bechtel Fellowship applications is November 1, 2016, so start thinking of your research topic.

See you in September.

— ALSC President, Betsy Orsburn

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