Oral history interviews

Ruth Gordon | Margaret Mary Kimmel

Oral history interview wtih Ruth Gordon by Ann Hotta (June 6, 1998)

Known to the online community as “Big Grandma,” Ruth Gordon has a multi-faceted career in library service to children and children’s literature. The editor of several collections of poetry published with HarperCollins, she has been a school librarian in three counties in California, a freelance editor of nonfiction, the fiction selector for Elementary School Library Collection, reviewer for Kirkus, New York Times Book Review, School Library Journal and BayViews, and has taught at both the University of San Francisco and the University of Maryland.

She has been an active member of The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California (ACL) throughout her professional career, serving at times as President, Chair of Social Responsibilities, and copy editor, and always as a mentor to many new librarians both in that organization and in ALSC. In ALSC/CSD she has served on the Board, as Priority Group Consultant, as Chair of Newbery and Notable Books for Children and on numerous other committees including Newbery/Caldecott, Robert F. Sibert Informational Award, Batchelder, Intellectual Freedom, and Organization and Bylaws. She served two terms on ALA Council.

A native of Chicago, she has lived in New York, Boston, Providence, Rhode Island, Italy, and now in Sonoma County, California.

Ann Hotta is a Children's Librarian at Berkeley Public Library in Berkeley, California and Adjunct Instructor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. She is also the author of "A Grass-Roots Library in Japan" (Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, Winter 1998, pp.143-152).

Linda Perkins, Children’s Services Coordinator at Berkeley Public Library, a past-president of ALSC and friend of Ruth and Ann, was also present at this interview.

Oral history interview with Margaret Mary Kimmel by Molly Kinney (October 31, 1995)

Dr. Margaret Mary Kimmel is professor emeritus in the Library and Information Science Program at the School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kimmel has been very active in ALA (American Library Association) and ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), most notably serving as ALSC vice president 1981-82, president 1982-83, past president 1983-84, and a member of ALA’s Council from 1989-93. She was the 2001 recipient of the ALSC Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her significant contributions to library service to children and ALSC. In addition to her work in ALSC, she was a president of USBBY (United States Board on Books for Young People), the United States national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Library and Information Science Education. Dr. Kimmel was a consultant for the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” television program and co-author with Elizabeth Segel of For Reading Out Loud!: A Guide to Sharing Books with Children (Delacorte Press, c1983). Throughout her prolific career, Dr. Kimmel has been dedicated to family literacy, service to children and families, and to the library profession, through her work as a teacher, author, and storyteller.

Dr. Molly Kinney began her career as a school librarian before joining the Broward County Library System. She worked as a children’s services manager with the Miami-Dade Public Library System. After completing a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, she became youth services coordinator with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and later, with Georgia Public Library Services as the training and programs coordinator for Children’s Services and Family Literacy activities for Georgia’s 58 public library systems from 1998-2002. She has written articles for many professional journals and books. A member of YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) and ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), she was on YALSAs Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee in 2005-06, ALSCs Newbery Award Committee in 1989-90, and the ALSC Board of Directors from 2003-06. Molly teaches in several distance education MLS programs. Since 2004, she has been the Executive Director of Public Library Services at Nova Southeastern University’s Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.