For immediate release | July 13, 2012

Hackley Public Library dedicated a Literary Landmark by ALTAFF in honor of Verna Aardema Vugteveen

PHILADELPHIA — ALTAFF partnered with Friends of the Hackley Public Library on Tuesday, June 12, to dedicate Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, Mich., as a Literary Landmark in honor of award-winning children’s author and storyteller Verna Aardema Vugteveen (1911-2000).

More than 220 people attended the dedication of Michigan’s seventh Literary Landmark, which was held in the Muskegon Museum of Art auditorium. This Literary Landmark is based on Hackley Public Library’s relationship with Vugteveen, who researched folk tales from various cultures and rewrote the tales as children’s stories. She credited Hackley librarians for their invaluable help in research and worked so closely with them that she called the library “home.” Vugteveen, an elementary school teacher for more than 25 years, loved to conduct story times and was known as Muskegon’s “Story Lady.” She is the author of "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears," which won the Caldecott Medal in 1976.

Many of the author’s stories were set in Africa, the theme for the June 12 dedication event. Bernice Houseward, a former Hackley librarian who inspired Vugteveen’s book "Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain," shared memories of working with the author. A troupe of children performed Vugteveen’s story "Who’s in Rabbit’s House?," which was selected as a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year in 1977. ALTAFF Past President Shirley Bruursema welcomed Aardema family members to the stage to unveil the bronze plaque that will be installed at the library. A reception took place in the youth services department of the library, which is next door to the Museum in downtown Muskegon. Nancy Clouse, illustrator of Vugteveen’s 1993 "Sebgugugu the Glutton: A Bantu Tale from Rwanda," signed books.

The Literary Landmark program is administered by ALTAFF. More than 100 Literary Landmarks across the United States have been dedicated since the program began in 1986. Any library or group may apply for a Literary Landmark through ALTAFF. For more information, visit

ALTAFF, the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association that supports citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. ALTAFF brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. As of Sept. 4, 2012, ALTAFF will be known as "United for Libraries." For more information or to join ALTAFF, visit ALTAFF’s website or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or



Jillian Kalonick

Marketing / Public Relations

United for Libraries (United)

1-800-545-2433 ext.2160