Kristen Sorth Wins Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/16/2019


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer


American Library Association


CHICAGO – Kristen Sorth, Director, St. Louis County Library (St. Louis, Missouri) has been named the 2019 winner of ALA’s Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession. The award, supported by the DiMattia Family, recognizes a public librarian who demonstrates leadership in anticipating emerging trends in services, products and technologies that will enhance the library’s position in its community. The winner also participates in the life of the community using membership in and volunteer service through a broad range of community organizations and projects.

Kristen Sorth is being honored for her dedication, talent an d the leadership that she brings to the St. Louis County Library organization and community. Sorth started her career as a human resources professional for the Missouri Department of Economic Development. In 1998, she became the Director of Human Resources for the St. Louis County Library and rose to the director position in 2013 after a series of promotions. Today she manages over 600 employees and oversees an annual budget of more than $50 million dollars. Kristen Sorth is unfazed by challenge of leading a library system located in the most populous county in the state. Instead, she sees it a privilege. Sorth says “it’s more than just a job; you can really make a difference in young lives.” Lauren Streibel who nominated Mrs. Sorth remarked that she is special person and “we all feel so lucky to have her as our Director”. Laura Horwitz, Co-Founder and Executive Director of We Stories admires Kristen’s bold leadership and moreover stated that “As a citizen, a reader and a mother, I am proud that our library system has a leader as visionary and responsive to community needs as Kristen.”


Ms. Sorth has guided the library through an ambitious capital improvement plan titled Your Library Renewed which has resulted in four brand new libraries and thirteen completely renovated buildings in the last five years. In addition, she introduced innovative programs such as We Stories, summer and after school lunch programs, Career Online High School and Recycled Reads.


Kristen Sorth’s commitment and drive led to her selection in FOCUS St. Louis' 38th Leadership St. Louis class as well as the Coro Women in Leadership Program. A resident of the City of St. Louis, Mrs. Sorth volunteers for several organizations including FOCUS St. Louis and the YWCA. She serves on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri as the Chair of Board Governance. Furthermore, Mrs. Sorth is an active member of ALA, PLA, MLA (Missouri Library Association), and ULC (Urban Libraries Council).


The annual award, consisting of $5,000 and a citation of achievement, will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC, in June.

Members of the ALA Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession Award Committee are: Chair Elizabeth Joseph, Information & Adult Services coordinator, The Ferguson Library (Stamford, CT); Roderick MacNeil, Director of Library Operations, Jefferson Universtiy, Philadelphia, PA ; Paul Sharpe, Paul Sharpe, Dean of Libraries, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas; Angela Anita Williams, Librarian, The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at Syracuse University, New York ; Julia Warga, Director for Research and Instruction, Kenyon College, Ohio.

More information about the Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession including how to submit a nomination is available at the ALA website (