Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship

The Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship provides a $4,000 grant to a qualified children’s librarian to spend a total of four weeks or more 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.

Current Bechtel Winner
Past Bechtel Winners


  • Each application will be judged on the following:
    • The description of the topic of study for the fellowship period.
    • The applicants demonstration of ongoing commitment to motivating children to read.
    • The applicants must be prepared to spend a minimum of four weeks in Gainesville.  The time spent does not have to be successive weeks.


  • Applicants must:
    • Have personal membership in the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).
    • Have at least (8) years professional experience in direct service to children.
    • Have a graduate degree from an ALA-accredited program
    • Demonstrate ongoing commitment to motivating children to read.
    • Willingness to write a report about his/her study. The report will be submitted to the ALSC
      Office for distribution to the Bechtel Committee and for possible inclusion in ALSC publications such as Children and Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children and on the ALSC website. A copy of the report will also be submitted to the Director of the Smathers Libraries, the Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture at the University of Florida and the Baldwin Curator.
    • If selected, Fellowship winners would agree to present a minimum of three public programs (i.e. exhibits, lectures, workshops, etc.) based on their research project to librarians/teachers, children, or the general public.

How to apply

The ALSC Special Collections and Bechtel Fellowship committee is currently accepting online applications for the 2017 Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship. Applications and supporting materials are due by Novemeber 1, 2016. To apply, please complete the following steps:

  • Review the paper application before submitting electronically [Paper Application--PDF]
  • Please do not fill out and submit the application until you have all the necessary materials to complete your application, including your resume. 
  • Contact the chair of the Special Collections and Bechtel Fellowship committee, Rachel Payne, with questions at rpaynenyc@gmail.com.

Start the 2017 Bechtel Fellowship online application now! 


Announcement of winners

The 2016 Bechtel winners have been announced! Winners are announced via a press release on the ALSC website in December.

Committee resources

Bechtel Fellowship manual (Word)
Bechtel Fellowship manual (PDF)