For immediate release | May 17, 2012

Hackley Public Library to be dedicated a Literary Landmark by ALTAFF in honor of Verna Aardema Vugteveen

PHILADELPHIA — Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, Mich., will be dedicated a Literary Landmark in honor of Verna Aardema Vugteveen on Tuesday, June 12 by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Verna Aardema Vugteveen (1911-2000) was an award-winning children’s author who based her stories on traditional folk tales from Africa, Latin America and other countries. Hackley Public Library and its librarians provided the setting and support for her research. Vugteveen is the author of “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears,” which won the Caldecott Medal in 1976, as well as more than 30 children’s books and collections of stories. Among the awards she received were the School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Award in 1977 and the Parents’ Choice Award for Literature in 1984. Her books have been published in a number of languages, including French, Spanish, Japanese and Afrikaans. Vugteveen is known as “Muskegon’s Story Lady.”

Vugteveen’s book “Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain” is dedicated to “my librarian, Bernice Houseward.”

“I owe a lot to the librarians at Hackley,” wrote Vugteveen. “They obtained most of my source stories through interlibrary loan. All of the tales in my first book, ‘Tales from the Story Hat,’ came right from the books at Hackley Library.”

The Friends of Hackley Public Library are hosting a special community celebration and dedication from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 12 at the Muskegon Museum of Art Auditorium. Houseward, formerly a children’s librarian at Hackley Public Library, will share her memories of Aardema at the event. A Reader’s Theater presentation of Aardema’s book “Who’s in Rabbit’s House?” will be performed by a group of children from Nims Elementary School and the Literary Landmark plaque will be unveiled. A reception will follow at Hackley Public Library, with refreshments and a book signing by Nancy Clouse, one of the illustrators of books by Vugteveen.

The Literary Landmark program is administered by ALTAFF. More than 100 Literary Landmarks across the United States have been dedicated since the program began in 1986. Any library or group may apply for a Literary Landmark through ALTAFF. For more information, visit

ALTAFF is a division of the American Library Association that supports citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. ALTAFF brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. As of Sept. 4, 2012, ALTAFF will be known as "United for Libraries." For more information or to join ALTAFF, visit, or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or



Jillian Kalonick

Marketing / Public Relations

United for Libraries (United)

800-545-2433 ext.2160