History of the endowment
William C. Morris was a long-time ALSC member and friend, the recipient of the first ALSC Distinguished Service Award, and an advocate for children’s librarians and literature. The ALSC William C. Morris Endowment was established in 2000 and activated in 2003 upon the death of Morris, former vice-president and director of library promotion at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Morris remembered ALSC in his will. Several years before his death, he worked with the ALA Development Office to establish the restricted endowment. Morris envisioned his endowment funding programs, publications, events, and/or awards that would promote excellence in children’s literature.
During the 2006 ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio, TX, the ALSC Board assigned a task force to give direction and suggestions to the ALSC Board on allocation priorities for the endowment. Members of the task force included Caroline Ward, Mimi Kayden, Susan Moore, and Kate McClelland. Friends of the Morris Task Force who attended meetings were Tim Ditlow, Angus Killick, and Pat Scales.
During the 2007 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, WA, the Morris Task Force recommended the implementation of the "William C. Morris Seminar: Children's Book Evaluation Training", to be held biennial during the ALA Midwinter Meeting and a "Breakfast for Bill" program, to be held at the ALSC National Institute. The ALSC Board approved the two recommendations of the Morris Task Force.
Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training
The biennial Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training was formed to honor and support William C. Morris’ dedication to connecting librarians, and ultimately children, with excellent children’s books. The seminar brings ALSC members with limited evaluation experience together with those who have served on ALSC’s media evaluation committees in an environment to train and mentor in the group process and in children’s media evaluation techniques. Participants learn book evaluation skills as well as how to conduct and participate in effective group discussions. The seminar results in new and emerging leaders for future ALSC evaluation committees.
Funds from the Morris Endowment support those selected to attend the training seminar by offering the seminar at no charge to attendees. This includes all materials, breakfast, lunch and breaks. To help defray additional costs, a stipend is provided to each attendee.
Seminars have taken place in the following years and locations, prior to ALA Midwinter Meeting:
2008: Philadelphia, Pa.; 2010: Boston, Mass.; 2012: Dallas, Texas; 2014: Philadelphia, Pa.; 2016: Boston, Mass.
Breakfast for Bill
Breakfast for Bill takes place at the ALSC National Institute and honors the memory of William C. Morris by bringing librarians together with children’s book creators. Participants arrive at breakfast bright and early and are greeted by Institute Task Force members, just like Bill did at his famous HarperCollins breakfasts. After a hearty meal with the speakers, attendees are delighted with panel discussions or presentations by children's book authors and illustrators. The breakfast is special for a number of reasons, from sharing a meal with your favorite authors and illustrators to grabbing galley copies on the way out, the morning is reminiscent of the magical events Bill hosted for librarians years ago.
Breakfast for Bill has taken place at the following ALSC Institutes:
- 2008: Salt Lake City, Utah featuring Sharon Creech and Joanna Cotler, and William Joyce and Laura Geringer, moderated by Kathleen T. Horning.
- 2010: Atlanta, Ga. featuring Christopher Myers, Walter Dean Myers, David Saylor, and Brian Selznick
- 2012: Indianapolis, Ind. featuring past Caldecott Award winners and honorees Denise Fleming, Kevin Henkes and Eric Rohmann, and the director of the Mazza Museum: International Art from Picture Books, Ben Sapp.
- 2014: Oakland, Calif. featurnig Tim Federle , Gene Luen Yang, Pam Munoz Ryan, and Rita Williams-Garcia, moderated by Jamie Campbell Naidoo
- 2016: Charlotte, NC featuring Laura Dronzek, Keven Henkes, Philip Stead, and Erin Stead
How to contribute to the endowment
Those wishing to contribute to the William C. Morris Endowment Fund may send a check to the ALSC office (50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611) and stipulate in the note field that it is for the Morris Endowment. Donors will be recognized in the ALSCMatters! newsletter, on the ALSC website, and in the PowerPoint presentation at the next Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet.