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Applications to Host the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Now Open!

Some of you may recall that I was given the chance to chair the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Committee. I am pleased to announce that if your host site would like to feature the speech, now is the time to make that request public. See below.


CHICAGO–The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Committee are proud to announce the opening of the application to host the 2018 event featuring National Book Award winning author, Naomi Shihab Nye.

The Arbuthnot Lecture is an annual event, announced at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting, in which an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature presents a paper that makes a significant contribution to the field. A library school, department of education in a college or university or a children’s library system may be considered. The lecture is administered by ALSC.

Host site application forms can be downloaded on the 2018 Arbuthnot website. The applications deadline is May 15, 2017. Information about host site responsibilities is included in the application materials. The lecture traditionally is held in April or early May.

In January, Naomi Shihab Nye was selected by the Arbuthnot Lecture Committee to speak in 2018.

“In a world preoccupied with self-interest and borders, Nye radiates compassion and connection,” said 2018 Arbuthnot committee Chair Betsy Bird.  “Her global perspective and considerable talent for delivering provocative ideas with comforting overtones make her reflections on children’s literature something we look forward to with great anticipation.”

The daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, Naomi Shihab Nye grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. The author and/or editor of more than 30 books, her most recent novel for children, The Turtle of Oman, was chosen as a 2015 Notable Children’s Book by the ALA. She has received four Pushcart Prizes, was a National Book Award finalist, and has been named a Guggenheim Fellow, amongst her many honors. Widely considered one of the finest speakers and most eloquent poets living today, Nye is the perfect person to speak for the 2018 Arbuthnot.

ALSC established this lecture series in 1969, with sponsorship from Scott, Foresman and Company (now Pearson Scott Foresman) in honor of author May Hill Arbuthnot.  The lectureship, now funded by the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Endowment, has the distinction of featuring many notable authors, critics, librarians, historians, and  teachers of children’s literature from  various  countries.  Past lecturers over the decades have included Mary Ørvig, Leland B. Jacobs, Virginia Hamilton, Maurice Sendak and Richard Jackson. ALSC, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children.  With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit ALSC’s Web site at

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Eric Carpenter says:

    On a related note, this year’s May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture featuring Jacqueline Woodson in Columbia, South Carolina is less than two weeks away!
    Get your free tickets here: