For immediate release | May 5, 2020

Nora Wiltse receives the American Library Association 2020 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce Nora Wiltse, teacher-librarian at John C. Coonley Elementary School, as the recipient of the 2020 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award. Ms. Wiltse, a leading advocate for librarians and libraries in the Chicago Public Schools, devotes her time and talent and inspires others to make positive changes in the profession of librarianship.

Fellow teachers, colleagues, librarians, and leaders in the education community praise Ms. Wiltse for her courageous efforts to create awareness about the impact of the severe cuts to library/school media positions and libraries in Chicago’s public schools, especially in less advantaged neighborhoods. She is a founding member of the Chi School Librarians group that advocates for a credentialed school librarian in every public school in the district. Passionately speaking out about the value of libraries for all students while displaying impressive interpersonal skills and leadership, Ms. Wiltse served on the bargaining team of the Chicago Teachers Union in the 2019 labor contract negotiations.

Ms. Wiltse is commended for her many years of mentorship and support for early career school librarians and library science graduate students. She is a respected colleague in the American Library Association and a member of ALA’s Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness. She is a long-term supporter of the Association of Illinois School Library Educators and former leader of the Monarch Reader’s Choice Book nominations committee, ensuring her love of books and reading extends beyond her school to students throughout Illinois.

The award will be presented January 2021, before the ALA Presidents Program at the Midwinter Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Honoring the memory of Dr. Elizabeth Futas, the Catalyst for Change Award is a biannual recognition administered by the American Library Association. Dr. Futas was the director of the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She joined the faculty at the university in Kingston, Rhode Island in 1986 and during the next decade helped to train a generation of reference and children's book librarians. She also revamped the programs of the library school and within two years helped it to secure accreditation. The award is $1,000 and a gold-framed citation of achievement.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2022 Elizabeth Futas, the Catalyst for Change Award is Feb. 1, 2022. Guidelines and applications are available on the ALA website.


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

American Library Association