Awards & Scholarships

The Distinguished Service Award: the Ongoing Legacy of Children’s Services in America

Recently I have been going through files that describe the work of Alice M. Jordan (1870-1960) the pioneering children’s librarian in the Boston Public Library.  Among Miss Jordan’s accomplishments were the following: establishing children’s services in the BPL, creating the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians, an early and still active professional organization, mentoring Bertha Mahony Miller (1882-1969), who founded the Horn Book Magazine and teaching at Simmons College. Her contemporaries were two other pioneers Anne Carroll Moore (1871-1961) at the New York Public Library and Caroline Hewins (1846-1926) at the Hartford Public Library in Connecticut.

There was no existing organization or structure for them to follow.  They wanted to serve all children and were determined to bring their young patrons the best literature available at the time.  They had to make a place for the books and their services in institutions that still saw adult users as their primary clientele.

The building blocks for today’s children’s services were established by these three women and others like them across the country.

All of you are part of this legacy. You have extended spaces to serve children beyond the library in community centers, shelters and other places where families live.  The collections you work to establish represent the diversity of your communities and help children learn and dream no matter their circumstances.  You have created programs that introduce children to literature from around the world, literature that links them to the experiences and feelings all children share.

Please consider an individual who is part of this legacy that has made such a difference to generations of children.

The deadline is December 1, 2019.  The nomination form and criteria can be found at:

For questions please contact any member of the DSA Committee: Shelley Diaz, Doris Gebel, Debra Gold, Susannah Richards or Mary Beth Dunhouse (

Today’s guest post was written by Mary Beth Dunhouse, Distinguished Service Award Committee Chair.

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competency: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development

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