For immediate release | January 25, 2020

McLinn Named Recipient of ALSC’s 2020 Distinguished Service Award

PHILADELPHIA -Dr. Claudette S. McLinn is the 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). This prestigious award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to library service to children and to ALSC.

McLinn is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL) and a long-time literacy consultant, advocate, and speaker on library services to children and culturally diverse children’s literature.

She served ALSC as chair of the ALSC/REFORMA Pura Belpré Award Committee, facilitator of the Bill Morris Book Evaluation Training Seminars, and presenter on numerous ALSC programs bringing literacy and diversity issues to national audiences. McLinn partnered with Día founder Pat Mora and ALSC to create El dÍa de los niños/El dÍa de los libros with an African American focus. Each year CSMCL awards $500 grants to libraries with a Día program serving children and families.

McLinn has shared her expertise in children’s literature through service on book award committees of ALA and other organizations, including the Newbery, Caldecott, ALA/EMIERT Coretta Scott King Award Jury, the Ezra Jack Keats Award Committee, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers Literature. As District Librarian in the Los Angeles Unified School District, she led K-12 workshops that brought diverse children’s books into libraries, classrooms, and homes. United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Board Member and middle school librarian Susan Polos writes, “Dr. McLinn has seized every opportunity to ensure that diverse literature for children is known, appreciated and available.” In addition to literature committees, she has served on the ALSC Nominating Committee, the ALSC/Children’s Book Council (CBC) Day of Diversity Symposium Planning Task Force, as a National Grant Reviewer for the Día turns 20 Mini-Grants, and as a priority group consultant to ALSC media evaluation committees.

Dr. McLinn served on the Presidential Advisory Committee of past ALA President Camila Alire, the ALA Council on Diversity, and the ALA Literacy Committee. She chaired the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s “Reading is Grand, Celebrating Grand-Families” literacy grant program for ALA President Camila Alire’s Family Literacy Focus Initiative. Most recently she chaired the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee and the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards.

In 2019, Dr. McLinn was invited to Italy to showcase the Coretta Scott King Awards 50th anniversary exhibit and present a panel, “Black Books Matter: African American Words and Colors,” for an international audience at the 56th edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

McLinn served as a mentor to the next generation of library leaders and brought her deep experience and knowledge to children’s and young adult literature courses at California State University-Long Beach. She was a contributing author to both “Popular Picks for Young Readers,” an ALA Editions publication, and “Multicultural Literature and Response: Affirming Diverse Voices,” published by Libraries Unlimited.

“Through Dr. McLinn’s vision, multicultural literature has the power to transform children’s lives and to create inclusive library services that support children and their families across all communities,” said chair Mary Beth Dunhouse.

ALSC is pleased to honor Dr. Claudette S. McLinn with the 2020 Distinguished Service Award.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is driven by more than 4,000 members dedicated to the support and enrichment of library service to children. Our members include youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty. ALSC supports its members in engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC and how to join, please visit:

The 2020 ALSC Distinguished Service Award Committee includes: Chair, Mary Beth Dunhouse, Boston, MA; Shelley Diaz, Long Island City, NY; Doris Gebel, Melfa, VA; Debra Gold, Beachwood, OH; Susannah Richards, Storrs Mansfield, CT


Jordan Dubin

Awards Coordinator