Monday, July 1, 2013 | 1:00 - 3:00 pm | MCP S106b
About the ALSC Charlemae Rollins President's Program
This program is sponsored in-part by the Charlemae Hill Rollins endowment. Rollins was born in 1897 in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and spent most of her childhood in Oklahoma in the company of her grandmother, a former slave. After teaching school in Oklahoma, she moved to Chicago with her husband and son. It was at this time that her distinguished career in librarianship began with an appointment at Chicago Public Library in 1927. When the George Cleveland Hall Branch opened in 1932, she was named head of the children’s room. She remained in that position until her retirement in 1963.
Her work with children expanded beyond the storytelling and reading-guidance activities that she so deftly preformed. In linking the children and their literature, she soon realized the critical inadequacy of materials relating specifically and positively to the black experience. Thus began her career as a crusader against stereotypical images of black youth in children’s literature.
Mrs. Rollins held offices in the Illinois Library Association and the Catholic Library Association. She chaired the 1956-57 Newbery-Caldecott Award Committee, and served as president of the Children’s Services Division (now ALSC) of the American Library Association from 1957 to 1958, becoming the first black librarian to lead the division. Also as a first among her race, Mrs. Rollins became the first black woman to receive an honorary membership in ALA, an honor bestowed upon her in 1972. Her other awards included the American Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1952; the Grolier Foundation Award of ALA in 1955; the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award of the Women’s National Book Association in 1970; and the Negro Centennial Award in 1963.
Adapted from “Charlemae Hill Rollins and her Peers,” by Pauletta Bracy, Public Libraries 21(3): 104-5 (Fall 1982); copyright ©1982 by the American Library Association for the Public Library Association.