2008 ALSC Bechtel Fellowship Winner named

Contact: Jenny Najduch

ALSC Marketing Specialist



For Immediate Release,

February 19, 2008

2008 ALSC Bechtel Fellowship Winner Named

CHICAGO - The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has awarded the 2008 Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship to librarian Mary Elizabeth Land of the Abbeville County Library System in South Carolina.

The fellowship is designed to allow a qualified children's librarian to spend a month or more reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature, part of the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida, Gainesville. The Baldwin Library contains a special collection of 85,000 volumes of children's literature published mostly before 1950.

The fellowship is endowed in memory of Louise Seaman Bechtel and Ruth M. Baldwin and provides a stipend of $4,000.

While at the Baldwin Library, Land will pursue her study, “Home for the Holidays: the Depiction of Holiday Themes in Books for Children.” By reading materials that portray holiday traditions, images, themes and values from different time periods, Land will study how literature affects children's expectations and memories of family holidays.

Land has served with the Abbeville County Library System for more than five years. She is directly responsible for children's services and has been instrumental in the library's collaboration with Abbeville County First Steps, which aims to prepare children to reach first grade healthy and ready to succeed. Over the last two years, Land was able to secure a $25,000 LSTA federal grant to combine children's programs with the First Steps Learning Bus, a mobile preschool classroom. This project helped bring the library to children in the most rural parts of the community.

ALSC is the world's largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,200 children's and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for all children by creating better opportunities. To learn more about ALSC, visit their Web site at

Members of the 2008 Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship Committee include: Dr. Denise E. Agosto, chair, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa.; Ernie J. Cox, St. Timothy's School, Raleigh, N.C.; Candace E. Deisley, Albany, N.Y.; Floyd C. Dickman, Ostrander, Ohio; and Mary Elizabeth Pruitt, Denton Independent School District, Denton, Texas.