Susan Roman is the 2014 recipient of the Association for Library Service to Children’s (A.L.S.C.) Distinguished Service Award, the American Library Association (A.L.A.) and ALSC announced on Saturday, January 25, 2014 during the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition (January 24-28, 2014) in Philadelphia. This prestigious award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to library service to children and to the ALSC.
Professor Roman received a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago, where she studied under noted children’s literature authority Zena Sutherland. She earned a Master's of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) from Dominican University (formerly Rosary College) and a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
She began her career as head of children’s services at the Deerfield Public Library in north suburban Deerfield, Illinois and then later became director of youth services at the Northbrook Public Library in north suburban Northbrook. Additionally, she served as director of the Reference Services Department at the American Medical Association Library, before joining the staff of the American Library Association (ALA). Following her tenure at ALA, she was appointed dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University.
Professor Roman has also served the ALA and ALSC from internal and external positions throughout her career. She was executive director of the ALSC from 1986 to 2000 and ALA director of the development office from 2000 to 2005.
She has served on several book evaluation committees, including the John Newbery Award Committee and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Committee. Dr. Roman is currently a member of the ALA Council. According to the ALA, "She has had broad influence and contributed innovative ideas in each capacity as she firmly believes that 'all children should have equal opportunities and access to reading and learning; libraries are critical in achieving this.'"
While working as executive director of ALSC, Roman focused on the role of libraries in emerging literacy, in early childhood education and in family literacy experiences. As a result, ALSC became known for collaborative programs such as Born To Read, the U.S. Department of Education’s Read Write Now initiative, the member-driven response to the Governors’ National Education Goals entitled Public Libraries: Partners in Achieving School Readiness, and the guide A Library Head Start to Literacy (a program that involved libraries, national Head Start and children’s museums).
During her tenure as the dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, Professor Roman demonstrated a strong commitment to library service to children and youth. Dominican University’s graduate school became known for its youth services program under her leadership.
Dr. Roman began collaboration with Chicago area public and school libraries as well as with ALA to place students in meaningful internships. With the launch of the Butler Children’s Literature Center, the area’s first examination center for graduate students in library science and education, teachers and youth services librarians was established. More recently, the Butler lecture series and continuing education opportunities at Dominican University supports members of the ALSC and ALA.
As dean, Dr. Roman secured funding to research the impact of public library summer reading programs on student achievement and, as principal investigator, she co-authored the results. The data remains key to support the work of youth services librarians in their efforts to prevent “summer learning slide” with the development and execution of summer reading activities.
Dr. Roman remains a member of the national advisory committee for the International Children's Digital Library, First Book and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). She has served as an advisor for PBS Ready to Learn and for the PBS children's television series Reading Rainbow.
She has led delegations of children's literature specialists to Russia and other Eastern European countries, Brazil, Cuba, Australia, and China. Dr. Roman also is an authoress and frequent speaker on issues related to fundraising, family literacy, and children's services and the interrelationship of each aspect. According to the ALSC, Ms. Roman's "influence on and support of youth services librarians has benefited libraries and the children they serve throughout the world. ALSC is pleased to honor Susan Roman with the 2014 Distinguished Service Award."
The ALSC, a division of the 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, the ALSC states it "is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries." One can learn more about the ALSC through its Web site.
The 2014 ALSC Distinguished Service Award Committee includes: Chair Maria B. Salvadore, Washington, D.C.; Marian L. Creamer, Children's Literature Alive!, Portland, Oregon; Linda L. Ernst, Children’s Librarian, King County Library System, Bellevue, Washing; Angelique M. Kopa, Materials Selection Librarian, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, Maryland; and Kathy Simonetta, Manager, Follett School Solutions.