Ground Breaking Librarians

"No dogs or children allowed" was the curmudgeonly mantra of many an American public library until the turn of the last century, when social reformers won dramatic expansions of juvenile rights. Thereafter, Children's Rooms staffed by trained specialists became the new norm. A revolution in free public access to children's books had begun.

As the publishing industry's hometown library, The New York Public Library led the charge. With missionary fervor for battling commercialism and enriching young lives, the NYPL's children's librarian Anne Carroll Moore issued annual Best Books lists, published her fiery opinions in the New York Herald-Tribune, cofounded Children's Book Week, and helped launch the Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

Moore hosted story hours, exhibited illustrators' artwork, purchased foreign-language children's books, and hired a multiracial, multilingual staff. Moore had her critical blind spots, most famously her abhorrence of E. B. White's Stuart Little, but her innovative practices—and protégés—swept America, and children's librarians from Stockholm to Tokyo were soon modeling their work on hers.

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The Poppy Seed Cakes by Margery Clark title page, black text on yellow background

The Poppy Seed Cakes

Written by Margery Clark

Illustrated by Miska and Maud Petersham

1925

Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty cover, a lion, a dog and a boy on a orange background

Andy and the Lion

Written and Illustrated by James Daugherty

1946

Association for Library Service to Children logo

Newbery Awards

1922-present

Association for Library Service to Children logo

Caldecott Awards

1922-present

How Children Get Their Books
Ground Breaking Librarians