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Childrens' Department

Author-Librarians in the Children's Department

Over the years, many of our children's librarians have also been children's authors.

Elva Smith (1871-1965) "was a prolific writer of stories, poems, history, and legends for children, articles for journals, and guides for librarians." (Contemporary Authors.) She was a children's librarian, cataloger, and Professor of Children's Services at Carnegie Library School (1903-1944.)
Elizabeth Sechrist (1903-1991) was assistant children's librarian at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh 1924-1925. She wrote fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. She was also an editor, compiling collections of poems and folktales.
Leclaire Alger (1898-1969) had a library career spanning several decades and various library positions, including page (1915) and branch librarian (1929-1966.) She is best known for her research and retelling of Scottish Folktales. She wrote under the name Sorche Nic Leodhas, Gaelic for "Claire, daughter of Louis." As Sorche Nic Leodhas, she received a Newbery Honor for Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland.
Laura Cathon (1908-1991) (CLP 1934-1948.) Wasn't just a children's librarian. She was head of the Children's Department in the Main Library. She taught classes in reference service at Carnegie Library School and was active in the American Library Association. In addition to writing book reviews and professional articles, Laura Cathon edited folklore collections and wrote the animal adventure story Tot Botot and His Little Flute.
Margaret Hodges (1911-2005) was a children's librarian at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh 1953-1964. She was an expert storyteller and respected scholar. Her books won numerous awards, including the Carolyn Field Award for Saint George and the Dragon.

Illustrator Trina Schart Hyman worked an image of Margaret Hodges and her husband Fletcher into the illustrations for The Kitchen Knight. See them on the final page, talking with Sir Gareth's companion.
Megan McDonald was a children's librarian in the Children's Department of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1990. Her first book, Is this a House for Hermit Crab, grew from a tale she created for her storytime audiences.
Pittsburgh history is a theme of several of Megan's books, including The Bridge to Nowhere, and The Potato Man.
Megan's books have won numerous awards, including Carolyn W. Field Award, 1993, for The Great Pumpkin Switch.

Compiled by Rebecca O'Connell, one of our Children's Department senior librarians who is also a children's book author.
September 2008