ALSC Names Betsy Diamant-Cohen as 2022 Distinguished Service Award Winner

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/09/2022


Elizabeth Serrano

Membership and Marketing Specialist


Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen is the 2022 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. 

Diamant-Cohen is the creator of the Mother Goose on the Loose program series, a groundbreaking program that promotes early childhood literacy and family engagement.

Betsy is a tireless advocate for children's library services to very young children and their families, having served on many ALSC committees over the years including the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. She has also presented at countless conferences and is well-known for pulling together panelists to share their expertise on serving families and communities with energy, creativity, and compassion.

She is both a teacher as well as a prolific author. Her books include Mother Goose on the Loose: A Handbook and DC-Rom kit with scripts, rhymes, songs, flannel-board patterns and activities for promoting early childhood development (Neal-Schuman, 2006); Booktalking Bonanza: Ten ready-to-use multimedia sessions for the busy librarian, co-authored with Selma Levi (ALA Editions, 2008); The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and tip cards,co-authored with Saroj Ghoting (ALA Editions, 2009); Early Literacy Programming en Espanol: Mother Goose on the Loose programs for bilingual learners (Neal-Schuman, 2010); Children’s Services: Partnerships for Success, editor (ALA Editions 2010); Crash Course in Library Services to Preschool Children (Libraries Unlimited, 2010); Transforming Preschool Storytime: A Modern Vision and Year of Programs, co-authored with Melanie A. Hetrick (Neal-Schuman,2013); Mother Goose on the Loose: Here, There, and Everywhere (ALA Editions, 2019); and Mother Goose on the Loose, Updated! (ALA Editions, 2019).

Diamant-Cohen is a frequent contributor to Children and Libraries, the Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children as well a contributor to the ALSC Blog, with citations too numerous to include here. Betsy has also led several ALSC continuing education webinars including Early Childhood Programs and Services Series Part 1: Ages and Stages in Early Literacy Programming and So You Want to Get Published.

In 2002, the second annual Godfrey Award for Excellence in Public Library Services for Families and Children was presented to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in recognition of the “Mother Goose on the Loose program as a strong contributor to a comprehensive set of library goals relating to children’s services.”

In 2004, Betsy was selected by Library Journal as a “re-inventor” and chosen as one of the “Movers and Shakers: people who are shaping the future of libraries” largely due to the success of Mother Goose on the Loose. Based on that, Neal Shuman publishing company invited her to write a book on Mother Goose on the Loose. Betsy has been giving training workshops around the country ever since.

In 2013, she was the recipient of ASCLA’s Leadership and Professional Achievement Award, which stated that Mother Goose on the Loose “has revolutionized the way story times are presented to young children at libraries across the country and has empowered librarians to work confidently with this young population of readers.”

In 2018, she was the recipient of the Vattemare Award for Creativity in Libraries.

“Betsy impressed the committee with her ability to connect research with practical applications for librarians and caregivers” said committee co-chair Brooke Newberry. “She has been a passionate and knowledgeable advocate for early childhood literacy and family engagement in all her professional work.”  Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen has contributed to the knowledge base of children's librarians and others who serve children in libraries and communities for decades. Her program Mother Goose on the Loose is the tip of what is an iceberg of offerings and supports to our field of practice. Betsy was one of the first librarians to write about the power and importance of engaged language experiences for children's development. She also highlighted the importance of the parent-child bond and how librarians can encourage parents and caregivers in their roles. Her workshops are bursting with joy and enthusiasm and she has taken great care to make her approaches flexible and adaptable to different communities.

ALSC is pleased to honor Betsy Diamant-Cohen with the 2022 Distinguished Service Award. 

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

The 2021-22 ALSC Professional Recognition and Scholarships Committee includes: Chair, Rachel Fryd, Free Library of Philadelphia; Brooke Newberry, La Crosse Public Library, La Crosse, WI; Elizabeth A. Burns, New Jersey State Library; Kathleen Campana, Kent State University, OH; Robin J. Howe, King County Libraries, WA; Lourdes Montes, John L. Dart Library, Charleston, SC; Mary Schreiber Cuyahoga County Public Library,OH.