2018 ALSC Distinguished Service Award Winner

Herb Is 2018 ALSC Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Dr. Steven L. Herb is the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). This prestigious award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to library service to children and to ALSC.

Herb is Librarian Emeritus from The Pennsylvania State University and Director Emeritus of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and a long-time advocate of early literacy services in libraries.

He has served ALSC as a member-leader in 25 positions over 35 years of consistent volunteering, including as ALSC president in 1995-96. His expertise in literature benefitted a number of media evaluation and award committees, including chairing the 2012 Caldecott Committee. Herb’s deep professional service also includes chairing the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee during a sensitive period when filtering software was being introduced and debated.

“Steven Herb exemplifies deep, sustained, and impactful service to our profession,” said chair Mary Fellows. “During his 35 years of ALSC membership Steven has always focused on contributing. Whether on process committees or in the spotlight of the ALSC presidency, through his public library work, teaching or research, Steven has consistently shown us how to be more and do greater things. We have all created a better future for children through libraries thanks to Steven’s example and sheer output.”

Herb is an author and a teacher as well as a leader. A strong interest in early childhood education and literacy propelled Herb through earning a BS, MED, and PhD from The Pennsylvania State University, as well as an MSLS from Clarion University. After launching his professional life as a special education teacher, Herb served as a children’s librarian at the Washington County (Maryland) Free Library. Following a decade as Coordinator of Children’s Service at the Dauphin County Library System in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Herb became Head of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Library at Pennsylvania State University. In 2000, he was also named Director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

He has co-authored several books, including professional titles Using Children's Books in Preschool Settings: A How-To-Do-It Manual : Neal Schuman Pub (June 1, 1994) and Connecting Fathers, Children and Reading: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians  Neal Schuman Pub (July 1, 2002), with Sara Willoughby-Herb. He also co-authored Animals on Parade: Animal Poems for Children (Continental Press, 1991) and Stretch, Jiggle, Jump: Action Rhymes for Children (Continental Press, 1991).

In 2007, Herb was appointed Follett Chair and Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of
Library and Information Science at Dominican University. This position, reserved for professors who already were known in the field for distinguished research, was one of only four endowed chairs in library schools at the time of Herb’s appointment.

Susan Roman, Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at 

Dominican University, notes, “Steven has worked tirelessly on behalf of ALSC and for all children throughout his very distinguished career. He used the research as a springboard to new and exciting ideas for reaching children and those families and caregivers who had the most influence on a child’s sound development. His mark on ALSC and the field of children’s librarianship for over 40 years is profound.”

In response to news of the award, Herb said, “I am astounded by this extraordinary honor. To be recognized for doing something I loved for nearly 40 years, in this manner, is almost beyond imagining. I’ve always enjoyed the Groucho Marx line that he would never belong to a club that would have him as a member. No more. This Distinguished Service Award is exactly 180 degrees round—a collection of my heroines and heroes in the world of children, books, and library services!” 

ALSC is pleased to honor Steven L. Herb with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is driven by more than 4,000 members dedicated to the support and enrichment of library service to children. Our members include youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty. ALSC supports its members in engaging communities to build healthy, successful, futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC and how to join, please visit our website at www.ala.org/alsc.

The 2018 ALSC Distinguished Service Award Committee includes: Chair, Mary Fellows, Albany, N.Y.; Diane Foote, Chicago, I.L.; Maria Gentle, Arlington, V.A.; Jennifer Knight, Port Angeles, W.A.; and John Scott, Baltimore, M.D.