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Press Release

Earlier this summer, Western Washington University (WWU) and the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) were selected by the American Library Association (ALA) to host the prestigious May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture in spring 2018. Sylvia Tag (WWU librarian), Thom Barthelmess (WCLS librarian and head of youth services), and Nancy Johnson (WWU professor/English) submitted a proposal for this event which was accompanied by 23 letters of support from area teachers and librarians, WWU faculty, poets from the region, participants who attended the 2016 Poetry Camp (for grownups!), attendees from WWU’s annual Children’s Literature Conference, and children’s literature aficionados from around the state and into British Columbia. We are all honored that our proposal was accepted to host the 2018 Arbuthnot Lecture, to be delivered by acclaimed poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye.   http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2017/07/western-washington-university-and-whatcom-county-library-system-chosen-site

Naomi Shihab Nye will deliver the 2018 Arbuthnot Lecture in Bellingham, Washington, on April 28, 2018, with Western Washington University and the Whatcom County Library System serving as the host site. In selecting Ms. Nye, the Arbuthnot committee recognized the wise and lyrical observations in her poetry and prose. Nye consistently draws on her heritage to attest to our shared humanity in her writing. The daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, Naomi Shihab Nye grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, Jerusalem, Israel, and San Antonio, Texas. The author and editor of more than 30 books for children, teens, and adults, her publications include poetry, fictional novels, and picture books. Nye's most recent novel for young people, 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. In early 2018, Nye will publish Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners, a volume of 100 original poems. Ms. Nye has taught writing and worked in schools all over the world. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas.

The Arbuthnot Lecture celebrates May Hill Arbuthnot, whose work as an educator, editor, writer, and critic served as a strong voice for children’s literature. Every year a lecturer is chosen who will prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature. This paper is delivered as a lecture in the spring, and is subsequently published through Children & Libraries, the journal of the Association of Library Service for Children (ALSC). ALSC established the lecture series in 1969 with sponsorship from Scott, Foresman and Company. The lectureship is now funded by the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Endowment, and administered by ALSC.

ALSC, a division of the ALA (American Library Association), 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. For information about ALSC visit www.ala.org/alsc.