Saturday, May 21, 2011

Virginia Haviland (1911-1988)

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Virginia Haviland, world renown children's literature proponent and authority. According to Barbara Immroth who wrote Haviland's entry in the Dictionary of American Library Biography, Second Supplement (Libraries Unlimited, 2003), Haviland's credo was "The right book for the right child at the right time." A worthy credo supported universally by children's librarians. Haviland was a children's librarian and branch librarian at the Boston Public Library for almost 30 years starting in 1934. In 1963 she became the head of the Children's Book Section of the Library of Congress where she retired in 1981. Immroth indicates that Haviland wrote extensively for children and adults with her best known children's books being those in the "Favorite Fairy Tales" series published by Little Brown. To children's literature students in library school she is probably best known for her Children's Literature: A Guide To Reference Sources. Haviland received many honors including the Grolier Award for "unusual contributions to the stimulation and guidance of reading by children and young people" and Honorary Life Membership given by the American Library Association in 1982.

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