The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is a division of the American Library Association, and it is the world's largest organization dedicated to library service to children. Its members are concerned with creating a better future for children through libraries.
ALSC's membership is composed of more than 4,000 members, including children's and youth librarians, children's literature experts, publishers, education and library school faculty members, and other adults dedicated to library services for youth. ALSC has nearly 60 active committees and task forces carrying out the work of the Association, including developing programs for youth and continuing education; publishing resources and journals for youth librarians; and evaluating and awarding media for children.
ALSC sets a standard for library service to children through the regular updating of Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries. The most recent competencies, adopted in 2015, emphasize seven core areas of competency that include services, programs, outreach, collection development, and administrative practices that contribute to quality library service for youth.
The Association of Library Service to Children supports five major initiatives focused on continuing education for children's librarians; enhanced library services and programming for children aged 0–14 years; and collaboration with other agencies serving youth.
El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día or Diversity in Action, is an ongoing celebration of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. Día was created by author/illustrator Pat Mora in collaboration with REFORMA.
As part of their commitment to bridging the 30 million word gap, ALSC created colorful posters and booklists designed to be hung in accessible public spaces, such as bathroom changing tables and on buses, to inform parents of ways to read, talk, sing, and play with their babies. Posters are available to print for free in both English and Spanish.
Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library®, commonly abbreviated as ECRR, is a parent education program designed by ALSC and the Public Library Association. The initiative focuses on the development of early literacy skills in children ages 0–5. Many storytimes and other early childhood programs in libraries across the world incorporate research and practices from ECRR. The ECRR toolkit is designed to help librarians teach parents that early literacy begins at home and is taught by parents. The toolkit was revised in 2011.
In 2015, the ALSC Board accepted a white paper titled "Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth." This paper outlines the role of librarians and other library staff who serve youth and families with particular regard to materials and practices surrounding digital media.
In recognition that libraries must advocate for their patrons and themselves within their communities, Everyday Advocacy provides resources and training materials to empower library workers to take action in a grassroots effort to build awareness of and support for the library. ALSC continually advocates for the support and enhancement of library services to children and those who provide it by encouraging practitioners to speak out within their communities to promote the value of those services. The division also partners with other agencies that serve children to spread the word about the power of reading, early literacy, and youth services.
ALSC announces the awards listed below every January at a Monday morning press conference that takes place during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting.
In addition to the above listed awards, ALSC produces three lists of notable media titles:
ALSC also recognizes Great Websites for Kids, a compilation of exemplary websites geared to children from birth to age 14. Suggested sites are evaluated by the Great Websites for Kids Committee using established selection criteria. Newly evaluated and accepted sites are added to the database three times a year. The committee also reviews all sites within the database twice a year to guarantee sites are still relevant, appropriate, and accessible.
American Library Association Notable lists are announced each year in January by various divisions within the American Library Association (ALA). There are six lists, part of the larger ALA awards structure.
ALA Notable Books for Adults (established 1944) is an annual list selected by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the ALA. Within RUSA, a 12-member Notable Books Council selects "25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, non-fiction, and poetry books for the adult reader."
ALA Notable Books for Children (established 1940) is an annual list selected by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. Within ALSC, a Selection Committee "identifies the best of the best in children's books." According to ALSC policy, the current year's Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, Belpré Medal, Sibert Medal, Geisel Award, and Batchelder Award books automatically are added to the Notable Children's Books list.
ALA Notable Children's Recordings (established 2004) is an annual list selected by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). The list identifies the best in children's recordings.
ALA Notable Children's Videos (established 2004) is an annual list selected by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). The list identifies the best in children's video.
ALA Notable Government Documents (established 1984) is an annual list selected by GODORT (Government Documents Round Table), a division of the ALA.
ALA Notable Videos for Adults (established 1998) is an annual list selected by the Video Round Table, a division of the ALA. It is a list of 15 outstanding programs released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults.Anatole (character)
Anatole is the title character in a series of children's picture books written by Eve Titus and illustrated by Paul Galdone. "Anatole" is also the name of the series. The ten books were originally published from 1956 to 1979. Two books in the series, Anatole in 1957, and Anatole and the Cat in 1958, were named Caldecott Honor books.Beverly Cleary
Beverly Atlee Cleary (née Bunn; born April 12, 1916) is an American writer of children's and young adult fiction. One of America's most successful living authors, 91 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide since her first book was published in 1950. Some of Cleary's best known characters are Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, Ramona Quimby and Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse.The majority of Cleary's books are set in the Grant Park neighborhood of northeast Portland, Oregon, where she was raised, and she has been credited as one of the first authors of children's literature to figure emotional realism in the narratives of her characters, often children in middle class families.She won the 1981 National Book Award for Ramona and Her Mother and the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. For her lifetime contributions to American literature, Cleary received the National Medal of Arts, recognition as a Library of Congress Living Legend, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the Association for Library Service to Children. The Beverly Cleary School, a public school in Portland, was named after her, and several statues of her most famous characters were erected in Grant Park, Portland, in 1995.Caldecott Medal
The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year's "most distinguished American picture book for children", beginning with 1937 publications. It is awarded to the illustrator by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The Caldecott and Newbery Medals are the most prestigious American children's book awards.
The award is named for Randolph Caldecott, a nineteenth-century English illustrator. Rene Paul Chambellan designed the Medal in 1937. The obverse scene is derived from Randolph Caldecott's front cover illustration for The Diverting History of John Gilpin (Routledge, 1878, an edition of the 1782 poem by William Cowper), which depicts Gilpin astride a runaway horse. The reverse is based on "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie", one of Caldecott's illustrations for the nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence".
Beside the Caldecott Medal, the committee awards a variable number of citations to worthy runners-up, called the Caldecott Honors or Caldecott Honor Books. The "Honor" was introduced in 1971, but some runners-up had been identified annually and all those runners-up were retroactively named Caldecott Honor Books. The number of Honors or runners-up had always been one to five, and it had been two to four since 1994, until five were named in 2013 and six in 2015. The Honor Books must be a subset of the runners-up on the final ballot, either the leading runners-up on that ballot or the leaders on one further ballot that excludes the winner.Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video was named in honor of nineteenth-century American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It honors the producer of the most outstanding video production for children. The Medal is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), through a Carnegie endowment. In the past 19 years (1991-2009), 19 titles have been honored with the award.Children's Literature Legacy Award
The Children's Literature Legacy Award (known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal until 2018) is a prize awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), to writers or illustrators of children's books published in the United States who have, over a period of years, made substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature. The bronze medal prize was named after its first winner, twentieth-century American author Laura Ingalls Wilder.Originally, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal was awarded every five years, awarding six prizes between 1955 and 1980. From 1980 to 2001 it was awarded every three years, awarding seven prizes. From 2001 to 2015 it was awarded every two years. The most recent author to receive the award was Jacqueline Woodson in 2018. It is now awarded annually.Erin Entrada Kelly
Erin Entrada Kelly is a Filipino-American writer of children's literature. She was awarded the 2018 John Newbery Medal by the Association for Library Service to Children for her third novel, Hello, Universe.Geisel Award
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is a literary award by the American Library Association (ALA) that annually recognizes the "author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year." The winner(s) receive a bronze medal at the ALA Annual Conference, presented by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) division of ALA.
The award is named for Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, who once said, "Children want the same things we want: to laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted."
It was established in 2004 and inaugurated in 2006 for 2005 publications.A few runners up are termed Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books; their authors and illustrators receive certificates.Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Guadalupe Garcia McCall is an award-winning author, poet, and educator. She was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. She is the recipient of the 2012 Pura Belpré Medal for narrative.Laura Watkinson
Laura Watkinson is a British literary translator. She studied languages at St Anne's College, Oxford, and has obtained some postgraduate qualifications since. She has taught at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and University of Milan.
Watkinson translates from Dutch, Italian and German languages into English, ranging from children's picture books and graphic novels to science and history. Since 2003 she has lived in the Netherlands, as of 2012 in Amsterdam. She founded the Dutch chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.Watkinson's publishers won the American Library Association Mildred L. Batchelder Award three times in four years from 2012 to 2015. Thus the Association for Library Service to Children annually recognizes the most outstanding children's book newly published in the U.S. in English translation. All three were picture books translated from Dutch. Another of her translations from Dutch was a runner-up for the 2014 award. In 2015 she won the British biennial Vondel Translation Prize for her translation of Tonke Dragt's De brief voor de koning.May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture
The May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture is an annual event sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association. The organization counts selection as the lecturer among its "Book & Media Awards", for selection recognizes a career contribution to children's literature. At the same time, the lecturer "shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children's literature", to be delivered as the Arbuthnot Lecture and to be published in the ALSC journal Children & Libraries.The lecture was established in 1969 to honor the educator May Hill Arbuthnot. Arbuthnot was one creator of "Dick and Jane" readers and she wrote the first three editions of Children and Books (Scott, Foresman 1947, 1957, 1964). When informed of the new honorary lecture in her name, 'she recalled "that long stretch of years when I was dashing from one end of the country to the other, bringing children and books together by way of the spoken word."'The lecturer may be an "author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children's literature, of any country". The Arbuthnot Lecture Committee selects one from a list of nominations, a process currently completed in January 15 to 18 months before the event. Then institutions apply to be the host: any "library school, department of education in college or university, or a children's library system". Several months later the same committee selects the host institution from the applicants.Mildred L. Batchelder Award
The Mildred L. Batchelder Award, or Batchelder Award, is an American Library Association literary award that annually recognizes the publisher of the year's "most outstanding" children's book translated into English and published in the U.S.The Mildred L. Batchelder Award is unusual in that it is given to a publisher yet it explicitly references a given work, its translator and author. It seeks to recognize translations of children's books into the English language, with the intention of encouraging American publishers to translate high quality foreign language children's books and "promote communication between the people of the world".
It is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the children's division of ALA, and conferred upon the U.S. publisher.
The award is named in honor of Mildred L. Batchelder, former director of the ALSC. One of her stated goals was "to eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations, and languages."
The Batchelder Award was inaugurated in 1968 and there have been 47 winners in 48 years through 2015.From 1994 there have been 38 worthy runners-up called Honor Books, one to three each year.
The 2015 winner is Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., for Mikis and the Donkey, translated by Laura Watkinson. The Dutch original Mikis, de Ezeljongen (2011) was written by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman.Newbery Medal
The John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." The Newbery and the Caldecott Medal are considered the two most prestigious awards for children's literature in the United States. Books selected are widely carried by bookstores and libraries, the authors are interviewed on television, and masters and doctoral theses are written on them.
Named for John Newbery, an 18th-century English publisher of juvenile books, the Newbery is selected at ALA's Midwinter Conference by a fifteen-person committee. The Newbery was proposed by Frederic G. Melcher in 1921, making it the first children's book award in the world. The physical bronze medal was designed by Rene Paul Chambellan and is given to the winning author at the next ALA annual conference. Since its founding there have been several changes to the make-up of the selection committee, while the physical medal remains the same.
Beside the Newbery Medal, the committee awards a variable number of citations to leading contenders, called Newbery Honors or Newbery Honor Books; until 1971 these books were called runners-up. As few as zero and as many as eight have been named, but from 1938 the number of Honors or runners-up has been one to five. To be eligible a book must be written by a United States citizen or resident and must be published first or simultaneously in the United States in English during the preceding year. Six authors have won two Newbery Medals, several have won both a Medal and Honor, while a larger number of authors have won multiple Honors, with Laura Ingalls Wilder having won five Honors without ever winning the Medal.Odyssey Award
The Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production is an annual award conferred by the American Library Association upon the publisher of "the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States". It is jointly administered by two ALA divisions (Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)) and sponsored by Booklist magazine. It recognizes production quality in all respects, considering such things as narration, sound quality, background music and sound effects. It is named for Homer's eighth century BCE epic poem Odyssey, which was transmitted orally, to remind us modern people of the ancient roots of storytelling.The award was inaugurated in 2008.
For many reasons indicated in the 2008 manifesto, "it is essential for ALSC and YALSA to provide the same level of support for this nonprint format that they have historically provided for print materials, by creating an annual award for the best audiobooks in the field."Pura Belpré Award
The Pura Belpré Award is a recognition presented to a Latino or Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth. It was established in 1996. It was given every other year since 1996 until 2009 when it was changed to be given annually.The award is named in honor of Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian from the New York Public Library. As a children's librarian, storyteller, and author, she enriched the lives of Latino children through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore.The award is given by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA).Sibert Medal
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal established by the Association for Library Service to Children in 2001 with support from Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., is awarded annually to the writer and illustrator of the most distinguished informational book published in English during the preceding year. The award is named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, the long-time President of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. of Jacksonville, Illinois. ALSC administers the award."Informational books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret documentable, factual material." Poetry and traditional literature such as folktales are not eligible but there is no other restriction (such as reference books or even nonfiction books). The book must be published originally or simultaneously in the United States and in English.Smile (comic book)
Smile is an autobiographical graphic novel written by Raina Telgemeier. It gives an account of the author's life from sixth grade to high school. The book originated as a webcomic, which was serialized on Girlamatic.Young Adult Library Services
Young Adult Library Services (ISSN 1541-4302) is a quarterly magazine published by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It supersedes the Journal of Youth Services, which was published together with the Association for Library Service to Children until 2002. The magazine serves as a mode of continuing education for librarians working with young adult populations (ages 12–18). The content of the magazine includes current news in the field, showcasing the best practices, providing news from related fields, spotlighting significant events of YALSA, and providing in depth reviews of professional literature. The fall issue contains award announcements, speeches by award-winning authors, and background information on books. The journal publishes articles about teen habits, literacy, and interests. Additionally, it serves as mode of communication for members of the association and as a record for the organization.Young Adult Library Services Association
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), established in 1957, is a division of the American Library Association. YALSA is a national association of librarians, library workers and advocates whose mission is to expand the capacity of libraries to better serve teens. YALSA administers several awards and sponsors an annual Young Adult Literature Symposium, Teen Read Week, the third week of each October, and Teen Tech Week, the second week of each March. YALSA currently has over 5,200 members. YALSA aims to expand and strengthen library services for teens through advocacy, research, professional development and events.