Mona Kerby receives AASL Distinguished Service Award

For Immediate Release
Wed, 04/08/2020


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Dr. Mona Kerby, professor of education at McDaniel College, is the recipient of the 2020 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Distinguished Service Award. Sponsored by The Rosen Publishing Group, the $3,000 award recognizes an individual member of the library profession who has, over a significant period of time, made an outstanding national contribution to school librarianship and school library development.

“I can think of no other individual who better exemplifies the criteria set forth for this award than Mona Kerby,” wrote Audrey Church in her letter of support. “The depth and scope of her 45 plus years in the field, the individuals she has touched, and the impact that she has had through her service, her writing, and her teaching are immeasurable.”

Since earning her PhD and MLS in library science from Texas Woman's University in 1984, Kerby has written 15 books and 25 articles and produced 2 videos that have been viewed on YouTube over 25,000 times. She focuses her scholarly writing on school library collection development and her most recent book, published in 2019, is “An Introduction to Collection Development for School Librarians.” Her articles have been published in American Libraries, Knowledge Quest, Library Media Connection, and School Library Media Activities Monthly.

Kerby began her school library career, serving as the school librarian at Little Elementary School in Arlington, Texas. While at Little, she received the school’s Outstanding Teacher Award and the Texas Library Association’s Siddie Joe Johnson Award for outstanding achievement in children's library service. Since then, Kerby has actively planned and developed exemplary school libraries, made sustained contributions to the school librarian preparation standards, and received a three-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to fund 12 Maryland teachers from underserved Maryland regions to earn Master’s degrees in school librarianship. For thirty years, Kerby has been a member of the American Library Association, the Association of School Librarians, and the Association of Library Service to Children, actively serving on committees.

Said award committee chair Liz Deskins about Kerby’s selection: “To quote Dr. Sherry Crow, ‘Mona is a stellar teacher and school librarian first and foremost.  She is a writer extraordinaire. She is a natural collaborator, is diligent and detail-oriented, yet is a visionary leader who understands the big picture of where our profession should be heading.’ Our committee agreed that Dr. Mona Kerby is a model of school librarianship at its finest, with a vision and passion that benefits us all.”

“I want to thank Liz Deskins and her committee for their work in selecting Dr. Mona Kerby as the recipient of this award,” said AASL President Mary Keeling. “Throughout her career, Dr. Kerby has exerted quiet and gracious influence through her teaching, course design, writing, and mentorship. We are grateful for her generous service to library associations and the school library profession.”

The AASL award winners will be honored during a virtual AASL Awards Ceremony during the fall of 2020. The virtual ceremony will replace the live ceremony traditionally presented during the ALA Annual Conference. Out of concern for the health and safety of all members of the community, the ALA Executive Board felt it was important to cancel the 2020 conference taking place in Chicago. Details for the virtual ceremony will be shared as they are finalized. 

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.