Aimee Strittmatter departing as ALSC executive director; Alena Rivers steps in as interim

For Immediate Release
Tue, 08/03/2021

Contact:

Stephanie Hlywak

Director

Communications and Marketing Office

American Library Association

shlywak@ala.org

CHICAGO – Aimee Strittmatter, executive director of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced she has decided to embark upon a new professional path and will be leaving ALA, effective Aug. 31, 2021.

Strittmatter joined ALSC as deputy executive director in April 2005, bringing to the division extensive experience as a children’s librarian and children’s services supervisor. In 2009, she was named executive director.

In her 16 years, Strittmatter has provided leadership, strategic direction, and management oversight across a wide spectrum of the ALSC’s programs, initiatives, and operations and effectively managed and grown ALSC’s resources and capacity by increasing ALSC’s operational fund balance fourfold.

Working closely with member leaders and staff to incorporate best practices and align activities with the association’s mission and core values, Strittmatter has implemented a wide range of programs and partnerships to advance the work of library service to children.

Strittmatter has advocated for increasing EDI within the profession as well as children’s literature and programs and services. One of her first acts as executive director was to commit annual funding for an ALSC Spectrum Scholar which has now grown to three annual scholarships.

Her accomplishments include:

  • Working with the ALSC staff to create #LooktoLibraries in response to COVID-19 and to support ALSC’s media mentorship work;
  • Securing critical funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Disney Citizenship Team;
  • Launching the Babies Need Words Every Day early literacy initiative;
  • Designing and executive the first Bill Morris Book Evaluation Seminar in 2008, which is now one of ALSC’s most highly rated programs;
  • Building and maintaining relationships with other national organizations, such as the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), New America, the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), and the United States Board on Books for Youth (USBBY)

Alena Rivers, ALSC deputy director, will serve as association interim executive director. Rivers joined ALA in 2017 as ALSC deputy director. In this role, she works with ALSC staff, board, committees, and partners to support ALSC’s continued growth in member relations, communications, publications, continuing education, projects and grants, and implementation and monitoring of ALSC’s strategic plan.

Her work has included facilitating a division-wide collaboration on Bystander Intervention training and the implementation of the pilot ALSC Equity Fellowship and pilot ALSC Research Agenda Grant.

Prior to joining ALA, Rivers had more than 10 years of experience in non-profit management, serving as the director of operations for the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention, a non-profit, statewide, membership-based organization that strengthened prevention systems, policies, and programs in underserved communities. She has also worked as associate director of enrollment management for IES Abroad, a non-profit study-abroad program provider, and as corporate communications and foundation assistant for the Montgomery Ward Foundation.

“Aimee leaves ALSC in an incredibly strong position and with a solid foundation that the next ALSC leader can readily build upon,” said ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall. “We wish Aimee the very best and look forward to supporting Alena’s leadership and ALSC’s ongoing advocacy for excellence in children’s library services.”

Details about the search for a new executive director will be forthcoming.

About ALSC
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is driven by more than 4,000 members dedicated to the support and enrichment of library service to children. Our members include youth librarians, literature experts, publishers, and educational faculty. ALSC supports its members in engaging communities to build healthy, successful, futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC and how to join, please visit our website at www.ala.org/alsc.

About the American Library Association
ALA is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.

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