For immediate release | March 29, 2024

Garza de Cortés named recipient of ALSC's 2024 Distinguished Service Award

CHICAGO - Oralia Garza de Cortés is the 2024 recipient of the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) Distinguished Service Award. This prestigious award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to library service to children and to ALSC.

Garza de Cortés is a children’s librarian, family literacy expert, writer, and Latino children’s literacy advocate whose career spans over forty years in the field.

In 1996, Garza de Cortés co-founded the Pura Belpré Award, which is the premier children’s literature award for Latino/Latina authors and illustrators. Her leadership also made it possible for the Pura Belpré award to be offered annually. She has worked tirelessly in helping the award grow in various capacities including serving as the Award’s Cultural Competence Consultant for years. As a longstanding member of ALSC and REFORMA, her legacies also include the establishment of REFORMA’s Children’s Services Committee (CSC) in the late 1980s, and being co-founder of Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros in partnership with Pat Mora and REFORMA. Garza de Cortés is also the author of numerous publications on children’s services. She is author of “Developing a Culture of Literacy through El día de los niños /El día de los libros.”

In 2015 she was named Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers for co-founding REFORMA’s Children in Crisis, a project where books and money are collected to distribute books to unaccompanied children crossing the United States/Mexico border.

In 1995, Garza de Cortés was the first Latina to serve on the ALSC Board and the first Latina to serve on ALSC’s Caldecott Book Selection Award Committee paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps. Oralia Garza de Cortés has sustained a continuous dedication over the years to children’s literacy and cultural pluralism. Her pioneering work, her leadership, and her selfless dedication to children's services and to the work of our organization make Oralia the ideal recipient of this award.

ALSC is pleased to honor Oralia Garza de Cortés with the 2024 Distinguished Service Award.

The ALSC Professional Recognition and Scholarship Committee includes: Co-Chairs Elizabeth A. Burns and Mary Schreiber and committee members Susan Dunn, Jaclyn C. Fulwood, Jacqueline J. Partch, Mrs. Maria Xochitl Peterson, Ms. Rebecca Price-Donahue, and Joe Prince.

About the Association for Library Service to Children

ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit ALSC’s website at


Ana Cackley

Awards Coordinator