ALSC history

ALSC Presidents - 1969-Present
A list of ALSC Presidents from 1969 to present.

A brief history of the Association for Library Service to Children
A capsulated version of ALSC history compiled from past ALA Handbooks and "Top of the News."

Oral History Interviews
The Oral History Committee of ALSC presents interviews with integral members in ALSC's history.

   

A brief history of ALSC

According to the "ALA Handbook 1948 (with 1949 copyright)":

"The Division for Children and Young People was organized and adopted its constitution and by-laws in June 1941. On June 24, 1941, the division was approved by A.L.A. Council. The division is made up of the American Association of School Librarians (formerly the School Libraries Section which had its first meeting in 1915), the Children's Library Association (formerly the Section for Library Work with Children, which had its first meeting in 1901) and the Young People's Reading Round Table which first met in 1930."

There was restructuring of ALA in the mid-1950s. The results of this were reported as follows:

The October 1956 "Top of the News" journal, which came out of the Division of Libraries for Children and Young People, bore this announcement from its president, Margaret C. Scoggin:
"On December 31, 1956, the Division of Libraries for Children and Young People goes out of existence, its programs and goals passing on to its two successors, the Children's Library Association and the Association of Young People's Librarians. Its duties this fall have been and continue to be those of sustaining essential activities, concluding its affairs in orderly fashion, and aiding the two new divisions-to-be in all ways possible."

Very shortly, the March 1958 "Top of the News" journal announced:
"On January 28 at the evening membership meeting of the Children's Library Association, that organization was transformed, by adoption of its new Bylaws, into a new organization with a new name. It is now the Children's Services Division of the American Library Association, and has responsibility to speak for the ALA on those matters which concern children's books and other library materials and their use in libraries in any type which serve children."

Nearly twenty years later, in the Fall 1976 issue of "Top of the News," then president Peggy Sullivan spoke of CSD board discussions at that year's ALA Annual Conference to change the name from Children's Services Division to the Association for Library Service to Children. The name change was approved at the 1977 Annual Conference; coverage of the event in the July/August 1977 "American Libraries" magazine announces:

"New name, same game: ALSC now stands for what was formerly known as CSD, the Children's Services Division."

More historical background:

The "Papers and Proceedings of the Twenty-Third General Meeting of the American Library Association held at Waukesha, Wisconsin July 4-10, 1901," announces:
"At the A. L. A. conference in Montreal in 1900 an informal meeting was held for the purpose of personal acquaintance and cooperation among those actively engaged in library work with children.

"As a result of this meeting an organization was formed, to be known as the Club of Children's Librarians, of which Miss A. C. Moore was made chairman, and Miss M. E. Dousman secretary... The secretary of the club was instructed to inform the secretary of the American Library Association of the formation of the club and to offer its services in the making of the program for future sessions on library work with children, if desired.

"The result of this proposition was that at a meeting of the executive board of the A. L A. it was voted that a section for library work with children be established, providing such section be acceptable to the officers of the Club of Children's Librarians. The section was accepted, and the program for the same was submitted by the officers of the club to the program committee of the A. L. A....

"In view of the establishment of the Section for Children's Librarians, which makes possible the thorough treatment of children's library work, it seems desirable that the Club of Children's Librarians be no longer continued, its special purpose being accomplished; at the present meeting of the section it is hoped to perfect its organization and outline its plans for the coming year."

The "Papers and Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth General Meeting of the American Library Association held at Boston and Magnolia, Mass. June 14-20, 1902" contain the definition for membership in the group:

"BASIS OF SECTION MEMBERSHIP was defined as follows:

"Active members shall consist of children's librarians and those library assistants whose entire time is given to work with children in libraries and schools.

"Associate members shall consist of : I. Assistants, a part of whose time is given to work with children in libraries and schools. 2. Librarians and others who wish to identify themselves with the work of children's librarians."

Special thanks to Valerie Hawkins, ALA Library, for compiling this brief history of ALSC.

   Oral History Interviews

The Oral History Committee of ALSC is preparing oral history interviews to be published on this Web page. Click on any of the names below to access the full interview.

Ruth Gordon

MS. HOTTA: My name is Ann Hotta, on June 6, 1998, interviewing Dr. Ruth Gordon at Sea Ranch, California. Okay, when did you join ALA and how long have you been a member of ALSC and how did you come to join it in the first place?

MS. GORDON: I’m not sure when I joined. Maybe 1970. I have been a member on and off. I think I’m coming up on my 25th year on my card. I kept quitting in anger. I joined ALSC, well it was CSD then. Children’s Services Division. And, at the same time I joined ALA. I went into a librarianship very late. And, what was the third part of that question?

MS. HOTTA: How did you become active in ALA or ALSC?

MS. GORDON: I knew people. That’s really it. Someone from the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California had been appointed to the Newbery/Caldecott Committee. And, that person, Marjorie Kingery, for one reason or another wasn’t going to serve and Mary Jane Anderson, who at that time was the fairly new, they were called Executive Secretaries then, Executive Secretary of the Division, somehow knew my name. We had met somewhere and she suggested to the then sitting President that I be appointed. I’m not sure of the year. Linda, did you know the year? ...

The full transcript is available to ALSC members. Please click on the preceding link and login with your regular ALA username and password to read the interview in is entirety. Not an ALSC member? Consider joining ALSC for access to our organization's history. If you are a researcher and would like access to this full transcript for a valid academic or professional purpose, please contact the ALSC office.

Margaret Mary Kimmel

MOLLY KINNEY: It's October 31, 1995. My name is Molly Kinney, and today I'm going to be interviewing Margaret Mary Kimmel, who is a past president of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). She was the president in 1982-83. But, we're going to start long before she became the president and talk about when she first joined the American Library Association (ALA) and became involved with ALSC.

MARGARET MARY KIMMEL: I first joined ALA when I was still in Baltimore, MD, as a children's librarian at the behest of the coordinator of children's services, Isabella Janette. Ms. Janette was a firm-minded lady and was bound and determined that she would make ALA available to her children's librarians to join for professional growth and development whether we wanted to or not. So I joined ALA, and Ms. Janette got me on a committee. It was a subcommittee working with another division (I think the State Librarian Agency Division on the Troubled Child), and we produced a series of bibliographies. That was my very first ALA committee. Since then, I've been on hundreds of committees for ALA--well, maybe not hundreds, but dozens of committees for ALA--but I still remember people on that first committee very clearly, especially Hilda K. Limper from Cincinnati, OH, and Jane Manthorne from Boston, MA. Jane Manthorn is from an old Boston literary family, and she invited the committee to her family's cottage on Cape Cod for a series of meetings. Barbara Ambler, who was Carolyn Field's administrative assistant at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and I were brand new kids on the block, and it was a wonderful, wonderful experience. I worked hard, but it was a lot of fun.

MOLLY KINNEY: What about some of the other committees you've been on that have been a special delight to you? ...

The full transcript is available to ALSC members. Please click on the preceding link and login with your regular ALA username and password to read the interview in is entirety. Not an ALSC member? Consider joining ALSC for access to our organization's history. If you are a researcher and would like access to this full transcript for a valid academic or professional purpose, please contact the ALSC office.