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ALSC Names Betsy Diamant-Cohen Winner of 2022 Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen is the 2022 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC). This prestigious award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to children’s library service and the ALSC.

Diamant-Cohen is the creator of the Mother Goose on the Loose series of programs, a groundbreaking program that promotes early childhood literacy and family engagement.

Betsy is a tireless advocate for children’s library services to very young children and their families, having served on many ALSC committees over the years, including the Early Years Programs and Services Committee. She has also presented countless conferences and is well known for bringing together panelists to share their expertise on serving families and communities with energy, creativity and compassion.

She is both a teacher and a prolific author. Her books include Mother Goose on the Loose: A Handbook and DC-Rom kit with scripts, rhymes, songs, flannel-board patterns and activities for fostering early childhood development (Neal-Schuman, 2006); Booktalking Bonanza: Ten ready-to-use multimedia sessions for the busy librarian, co-authored with Selma Levi (ALA Editions, 2008); The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and tip cards, co-authored with Saroj Ghoting (ALA Editions, 2009); Early Literacy Programming in Spanish: Mother Goose on the Loose programs for bilingual learners (Neal-Schuman, 2010); Children’s Services: Partnerships for Success, publisher (ALA Editions 2010); Crash Course in Library Services for Preschoolers (Libraries Unlimited, 2010); Transforming Preschool Storytime: A Modern Vision and Year of Programs, co-authored with Melanie A. Hetrick (Neal-Schuman, 2013); Mother Goose on the Loose: Here, There and Everywhere (ALA Editions, 2019); and Mother Goose on the Loose, updated! (ALA Editions, 2019).

Diamant-Cohen is a frequent contributor to Children and Libraries, the Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children as well as a contributor to the ALSC blog, with quotes too numerous to include here. Betsy has also led several ALSC continuing education webinars, including the series Early Years Programs and Services Part 1: Ages and Stages of Early Literacy Programming and So You Want to Get Published.

In 2002, the second annual Godfrey Award for Excellence in Public Library Service for Families and Children was presented to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in recognition of the “The Mother Goose on the Loose program as an important contributor to a comprehensive set of children’s services-related library goals.”

In 2004, Betsy was selected by Library Journal as a “reinventor” and chosen as one of “Movers and Shakers: People Shaping the Future of Librarieslargely thanks to the success of Mother Goose on the Loose. Based on this, the publishing house Neal Shuman invited her to write a book about Mother Goose on the Loose. Since then, Betsy has given training workshops across the country.

In 2013, she received the Leadership and Career Achievement Award from ASCLA, which said Mother Goose on the Loose “revolutionized the way storytimes are presented to young children in libraries across the country and enabled librarians to work confidently with this young reader population.

In 2018, she was the recipient of the Vattemare Prize for Creativity in Libraries.

“Betsy impressed the committee with her ability to connect research with practical applications for librarians and caregivers,” said committee co-chair Brooke Newberry. “She has been a passionate and knowledgeable advocate for early childhood literacy and family engagement in all of her professional work.” Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen has contributed to the knowledge base of children’s librarians and others who serve children in libraries and communities for decades. Her Mother Goose on the Loose program is the tip of what is an iceberg of offerings and supports to our scope of practice. Betsy was one of the first librarians to write about the power and importance of engaged language experiences for children’s development. She also highlighted the importance of the parent-child bond and how librarians can encourage parents and caregivers in their roles. Her workshops are overflowing with joy and enthusiasm and she has taken great care to make her approaches flexible and adaptable to different communities.

The ALSC is pleased to honor Betsy Diamant-Cohen with the 2022 Distinguished Service Award.

The ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to supporting and improving library services for children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and teens’ librarians, literature experts, publishers and education teachers, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about the ALSC, visit the ALSC website at

The 2021-22 ALSC Professional Recognition and Scholarship Committee includes: Chair, Rachel Fryd, Free Library of Philadelphia; Brooke Newberry, La Crosse Public Library, La Crosse, WI; Elizabeth A. Burns, State Library of New Jersey; Kathleen Campana, Kent State University, Ohio; Robin J. Howe, King County Libraries, WA; Lourdes Montes, John L. Dart Library, Charleston, SC; Mary Schreiber County Public Library Cuyahoga, OH.