Distinguished Service Fund

The AASL Distinguished Service Award & Scholarship Fund is an opportunity to ensure every school librarian is a leader and every learner has a school librarian. 

Your donation will annually support both:

  • Recognition of the Distinguished Service Award winner
  • A leadership scholarship for mid-career school librarian 

Investing in AASL’s Distinguished Service Fund is twofold: (1) honors a school librarian with a sustained record of service to the profession, and (2) supports the development of future leaders by providing a scholarship and mentorship to a mid-career school librarian.

The donation page is automatically set to a $25 donation but is editable to any amount you would like to give.

Read the KQ blog post, "#AASLtwosday: Why Give on 2/22/22" by Kathy Lester, AASL President-elect, and Becky Calzada, AASL Director-at-Large.

"I’m honored to receive this award because it means that in a small way, I join the school library leaders who’ve helped me—unknowingly—over my career. My mission is to help librarians develop and use quality collections that enrich students' love of reading and learning—forever."
Mona Kerby, 2020 Distinguished Service Award Recipient



"When I examine the impressive list of past recipients, I see a continuum of flames lit and torches passed. Through their writing and their speaking, so many of these generous mentors continue to spark our thinking. I've schemed with them casually at conferences. Early in my career, they directed me: You have a voice. Use it. And that made all the difference. I hope my own teaching and mentoring, in some small way, pay these favors forward."  Joyce Valenza, 2019 Distinguished Service Award Recipient
"It reminded me of the days and years that have formed my career and what a magnificent and rewarding journey it has been.  Thanks to numerous pushes along the way, I have learned and grown and continue to do so.  The first push got me involved at the state level.  The next at the national level, where I met such great people as Hilda Jay (Loved her name).  I got to know the leaders of the day and continued to meet those rising up.  My knowledge of the profession increased, and I developed a vocabulary that had administrators recognizing my expertise.  I have loved and still love our profession and strive to make others aware of the significance of our contribution to students, teachers, administrators, and others."
Hilda Weisburg, 2016 Distinguished Service Award Recipient
"Being recognized by my peers in AASL for contributions I made to the profession is extremely gratifying.Throughout my years of service, I was energized and inspired as a leader and librarian through reciprocal mentoring. This award will benefit future librarian leaders by continuing the mentoring process."
Ann M. Martin, 2015 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

"When I received the 2014 AASL Distinguished Service Award, I humbly reflected on those who helped me reach that achievement. LIS professors who prepared me like Dr. Jacqueline Mancall and those I collaborated with over the years like Dr. Mary Kay Biagini. But I also learned so much from my school librarian colleagues, meeting many by belonging to our state association. We mentored each other in a field known for its isolation. I couldn't have excelled without them."
Debra Kachel, 2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Click here for full list of past Distinguished Service Award Recipients

Based on the work of the Distinguished Service Award Task Force and data collected from focus groups, this award has been transformed to recognize the leaders who have advanced the profession and ensure leadership development for the future. Given annually, the Distinguished Service Award winner will receive support to attend the AASL National Conference and offer an in-person mentorship opportunity to the scholarship recipient from their year.  The scholarship will include ALA/AASL membership (three years), national conference registration, travel and accommodations, and volunteer leadership opportunities. 

AASL would like to thank the Distinguished Service Award Task Force for its development of the Distinguished Service Award & Scholarship Fund.

  • Debbie Abilock, Co-chair
  • Gail Dickinson, Co-chair
  • Cassandra Barnett, member
  • Carl Harvey, member
  • Juan Rivera, member