Clara Nalli Bohrer receives 2009 Sullivan Award

Contact:Â Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

ALA Governance Office



For Immediate Release

March 10, 2009

ALA is announcing Clara Nalli Bohrer, director, West Bloomfield Township Public Library, as the 2009 winner of the Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children Award. Bohrer is the 6th winner of this award, provided by former ALA President Peggy Sullivan.

The Sullivan Award is given to an individual who demonstrates “exceptional understanding and support of public library service to children while having general management/supervisory/administrative responsibility that has included public library service to children in its scope.’ One supporter noted, “Clara’s empathetic and passionate advocacy for early literacy and service to children is evident in the design of children’s programs and services, the selection and training of staff, facility design and maintenance, as well as customer service.”Â

At Clara’s direction, the West Bloomfield Township Public Library has become a community center for early literacy. Clara’s vision for youth services revolves around the principle of stimulating children’s minds by providing an environment where children along with their parents and caregivers can interact in meaningful literacy and learning experiences. The library has dedicated significant space and resources to creating an engaging environment where youth can grow and learn. In addition, library initiatives like Grow Up Reading™ ( provide parent education materials and hands-on literacy activities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The library has also developed materials for students in kindergarten through third grade to help them develop into fluent readers and eager learners.

A nominator commented, “Clara has had an active role as a coach and mentor to a wide variety of library employees who have gone on to further their careers in libraries outside West Bloomfield. Each person who has worked with Clara leaves carrying her indelible fingerprint encompassing early literacy and commitment to children’s services.”

“With these glowing recommendations and her stellar career, the Sullivan Award Jury is pleased to select Clara Bohrer, as the 2009 Award winner,” said Liz Bishoff, 2009 jury chair.

In addition to her library responsibilities, Bohrer has been active in ALA, the Public Library Association, ALSC and the Michigan Library Association. Clara was president of the Public Library Association in 2004 – 2005. She has served on the prestigious Newberry and Caldecott Award Committees, the ALSC Board of Directors, and chaired the PLA Seattle National Conference.

Bohrer has been the Director of the West Bloomfield Township Public Library since 1991. Prior to coming to the West Bloomfield Library, she held positions at the Brighton Public Library, Farmington Community Library, Canton Public Library and Dearborn Department of Libraries.Â

Bohrer holds a Master of Science in Library Science from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Michigan. The annual award will be presented in July at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Members of the 2009 Sullivan Award committee are: Chair, Liz Bishoff, BCR, Aurora, Colo.; Barbara J. Ford, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.; John G. Jaffe, Sweet Briar College Mary Helen, Sweet Briar, Va.; LaWanda C. Roudebush, Davenport Public Library, Davenport, Iowa; and Denise M. Zielinski, Dupage Library System, Geneva, Ill.

The deadline for submission of nominations for the 2010 Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children is Dec. 1. Guidelines and the nomination form are available on the ALA website at