Everyone wants to know what their fellow ASCLA members are doing. Please send your news to the ASCLA Interface Editor for the next issue.

 Congratulations to this year’s ASCLA award winners!

ASCLA Leadership & Professional Achievement Award: Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen, executive director of Mother Goose on the Loose, LLC, and early childhood specialist at the Port Discovery Children’s Museum, Baltimore.  Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen has been named the recipient of the 2013 ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award — an annual honor presented to an ASCLA member exemplifying leadership and achievement in one or more of the following areas: consulting, library cooperation, networking, statewide services and programs and state library development.

Diamant-Cohen is a proven and trusted leader in the field of early literacy. She is recognized as a prolific author, inspiring mentor and presenter, knowledgeable consultant and teacher and creator and developer of the Mother Goose on the Loose (MGOL) program. This program has revolutionized the way story times are presented to young children at libraries across the country and has empowered librarians to work confidently with this young population of readers. Through a simple formula and structure, librarians learn how to create programs that reflect their interests and personalities. The result is an early literacy program that is easy to plan and present; strengthens connections between parents and their children; builds community; allows librarians to be facilitators rather than performers; educates adults about child development and best practices for literacy; builds and strengthens children’s school readiness skills and creates warm relationships between library visitors and their librarians.

Diamant-Cohen has demonstrated her leadership by promoting a program that is developmentally sound and solidly grounded in the latest research about how young children learn. She has also actively sought out ways to adapt and expand the program to reach communities in greatest need. This included developing and publishing “Early Literacy Programming en Espanol: Mother Goose on the Loose programs for bilingual learners” in 2010. This initiative offered groundbreaking techniques that allowed English-speaking librarians to bring a successful MGOL program to second language learners.

Francis Joseph Campbell Award for library services to the blind: Jill Lewis, former director (now retired) of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The award, which consists of a citation and a medal, is presented to a person or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of library service for the blind and physically handicapped. Keystone Library Automated Systems (KLAS) and the Southern Conference of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS/BPH) provide support for this award. Lewis, who retired from the library in 2012, was selected for her significant impact on library services in Maryland. Under her leadership, the library developed partnerships that provided a vibrant community center to serve library users with print disabilities. The center includes adaptive technology, cultural programs and an interactive children’s reading center.

Lewis served as the director of the MDLBPH from October 2003 until her retirement in May 2012 and was previously the acting director and collection management librarian. She has also worked as a reference librarian at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Library of Congress, where she conducted a study of educational reading services for individuals with print disabilities and prepared publications for the Reference Section. She earned her M.L.I.S. from the School of Library and Information Studies, The University of Alabama.

Cathleen Bourdon Service Award for service to ASCLA: Ruth J. Nussbaum, reference librarian (retired), National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. The Cathleen Bourdon Service Award is presented annually to an ASCLA member whose leadership and involvement in the division has enhanced the stature, reputation and overall strength of ASCLA and has also cultivated the division’s relationship with other appropriate organizations, institutions or government agencies. In 22 years of continuous service, Nussbaum has provided mentorship and friendship both inside and outside of the ASCLA community. She has been at the front lines of library service and ASCLA activities, initiating positive changes and improvements to library services for people with disabilities. Most importantly, in all of her work, she has led by example, inspiring ASCLA colleagues and a new generation of ASCLA members

Nussbaum has an extensive record of professional involvement in ASCLA, ALA and other associations such as the American Indian Library Association. As an ASCLA member since 1990, Nussbaum has played an active part in representing the librarians serving special populations constituency of ASCLA as part of the Century Scholarship committee, a representative to the ASCLA Board of Directors, chair of the Francis Joseph Campbell Award Committee and member of the ASCLA Awards Committee, chair of the Librarians Serving Special Populations Section of ASCLA and representative to the ASCLA board. She also served as an ALA councilor-at-large from 2004-2007. She has made significant contributions to important professional documents and guidelines, including accessibility policies for both ALA and ASCLA, fact sheets, bibliographies and other publications addressing library services for people with disabilities.

Nussbaum worked as a reference librarian at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, from 1987 through her retirement in 2012. Prior to this position, she spent time as the acquisitions library associate at the Gallaudet University Library, librarian and administrator at the Huntington Free Library and Reading Room at the Depository for the Museum of the American Indian and as a Head Start teacher in the Redhook neighborhood of Brooklyn. She earned her M.L.S. from Southern Connecticut State University.


Help Celebrate the ASCLA Award Winners! We will be honoring this year’s winners at the ASCLA/COSLA Reception, Saturday, June 29 from 5:45 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., at the ALA Annual Conference. All conference attendees are invited to this celebration, which includes hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The reception is also an excellent opportunity to network with ASCLA members—some of the coolest librarians you’ll ever meet. Bring your business cards and come hang out with us!