Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

ALSC Professional Awards season is here!

Professional Awards seal used for awards and grants such as the "Light the Way" grant

We recently completed a 2019 Membership Needs Assessment survey and it was surprising to learn over 95% of ALSC members have not applied for any of the available Professional Awards, Grants or Scholarships *insert my sad face*.

Here are some reasons why I thought ALSC members might be hesitant in applying:

  • There is an application process along with requirements and criteria that should be met for each of these opportunities. This could be intimidating or time consuming, but I promise our amazing ALSC staff and selection committee members are here to help answer all of your questions!
  • It could also be possible that ALSC members just do not know these opportunities exist!

If you did not know they existed, I’m here to tell you that they do! *insert my happy face*

ALSC awards over $100,000 in the form of awards, grants and scholarships every year and I have listed them all below.

Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship

This particular award requires travel, so I can definitely understand the hesitation in applying, but it’s a great opportunity! The Bechtel Fellowship provides a grant up to $4,000 to a qualified children’s librarian to spend up to four weeks reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature of the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville. The Baldwin Library contains a special collection of 130,000 volumes of children’s literature published mostly before 1950. The fellowship is endowed in memory of Louise Seaman Bechtel and Ruth M. Baldwin. You can read about past winners’ experiences in this blog post and learn more about the criteria and requirements on the ALSC website.

Applications for this award will close on October 15! Please hurry and apply!

Penguin Random House Young Readers Group Award

This award, made possible by an annual gift from Penguin Young Readers Group and Random House Children’s Books, provides a $600 stipend to up to four children’s librarians to attend their first ALA Annual Conference. Recipients will also attend the Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy banquet.

Learn more about this award and apply by November 1!

Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant

The ALSC Summer Reading Program Grant is designed to encourage reading programs for children in public libraries by providing $3,000 in financial assistance, while recognizing ALSC members for outstanding program development.

Learn more about this award and apply by December 1!

Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Award

This $4,000 award was established with funding from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, in honor of Maureen Hayes, to bring together children and nationally recognized authors/illustrators by funding an author/illustrator visit to a library.

Learn more about this award and apply by November 15!

ALSC Distinguished Service Award

This award honors an individual member of ALSC who has made significant contributions to, and an impact on, library service to children and/or ALSC.  The recipient receives $2,000 and an engraved pin at the ALSC Membership Meeting during ALA Annual Conference.

You can listen to and watch some past recipients speeches on the ALSC website and learn more about this award. Nominate a friend or colleague today!

Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved Grant

The ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way” Grant is sponsored by Candlewick Press in honor of author Kate DiCamillo and the themes represented in her books. The award consists of a $3,000 grant to assist a library in conducting exemplary and replicable outreach to underserved populations through a new and innovative program or an expansion of work already being done. The grant is administered by the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSUCTC).

Check out what our 2019 recipients have been up to! Applications are being accepted through December 1 and you can learn more on the ALSC website.


Each year the ALSC office receives nearly 3,000 newly published books, videos, audiobooks, and recordings from children’s trade publishers. These materials, primarily for children age birth through fourteen and are submitted to ALSC award and media evaluation selection committees for award and notables consideration.  After each ALA Midwinter Meeting in January, these materials (published in the preceding year) need to be removed from the ALSC office to make room for a new year of publications.

Check out how the ALSC office packs up these books! This application will open in December 2019.


ALSC also has three academic scholarship opportunities you could apply for! Scholarship applications must submitted using the ALA online form. Applications for scholarship opportunities are being accepted through March 1, 2020 you can learn about requirements on the ALA website.

Don’t these all sound amazing? It’s always exciting to learn what our recipients get to do with their awards and these are such an incredible member benefit. I’d be curious to learn what other barriers might exist when considering applying for an ALSC Professional Award. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me, If you have questions about any of these opportunities, send them my way as well and I will connect you with the right person who has the answers!

If you are not an ALSC personal member and would like to apply for some of these, please join ALSC today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *