For immediate release | March 29, 2012

Kathleen Hegarty named 2012 winner of ASCLA Exceptional Service Award

CHICAGO -- The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) will posthumously honor Kathleen Hegarty, Boston Public Library (retired), with the 2012 ASCLA Exceptional Service Award.

The ASCLA Exceptional Service Award is a citation presented to recognize exceptional service to patients, to the homebound, to people of all ages who live in group homes or residences and to inmates, as well as to recognize professional leadership, effective interpretation of programs, pioneering activity and significant research of experimental projects. Hegarty was notified of winning the award prior to her death on Jan. 28, 2012. Read her American Libraries Magazine obituary here.

Hegarty earned her MLS from Simmons College. She spent the duration of her library career at Boston Public Library, where she served as the coordinator of adult services (1962-74), staff officer for programs and public relations (1974-85) and the founder and director of the Access Center for People with Disabilities from 1985 until her retirement in 1999. An active member of ASCLA and LSSPS since 1985, Hegarty served as chair of many Division and Section committees and forums, as well as chair of the Task Force on Libraries Serving Special Populations Section (LSSPS) Bylaws, and was one of the founding committee members of the ASCLA Century Scholarship. She was most recently elected as ASCLA Secretary.

Hegarty left her mark on BPL and the library community with her innovative and groundbreaking services and programs. Making creative use of federal Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) funds, she forged numerous new cutting-edge services for special populations during her tenure at Boston Public Library, including the “Homesmobile” library services to nursing homes and the homebound, which continues to operate to this day. She also served as director of the Boston Public Library’s NEH Learning Library, the first such learning library in the United States. For more than 30 years she coordinated special programs and services which included weekly educational programs for older adults.

“Kathleen’s pioneering efforts at the Boston Public Library and her dedication to improving services for older adults and persons with disabilities has insured continued leadership, professional growth and sustainability within the profession,” said Norma Blake, ASCLA president. “She also worked tirelessly to enhance the stature, reputation and overall strength of ASCLA, and we are so grateful for her investment in our organization.”

Hegarty will be honored at the ASCLA/COSLA Networking Party and Awards Reception, which will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 23, 2012 at one of the ALA Annual Conference hotels in Anaheim, Calif. All conference attendees are invited to this event, which will celebrate this year’s ASCLA award winners and also feature peer-to-peer networking activities. More information will be available at in late spring.

ASCLA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed. Our division’s work centers on member-driven interest groups that represent the diversity and important work of our engaged and active members. Not an ASCLA member, but interested in forming new interest groups, receiving discounted registration rates on ASCLApreconferences and online courses, and other important membership benefits? Join, renew or add ASCLA to your ALA membership at


Elizabeth Markel