Print Page | Sign In | Register
California Library Hall of Fame Inductees
Share |

Back to the California Library Hall of Fame main page

California Library Hall of Fame Inductees

The California Library Hall of Fame honors the historical significance and lifetime achievement of the many librarians, library workers and supporters who have helped promote and improve library services in California. All members of the library community are invited to nominate individuals who have made an historically significant contribution to the improvement of California libraries over a sustained period of time.

No more than ten nominees are inducted into the Hall of Fame in any given year. Inductees are featured in CLA's online California Library Hall of Fame and honored at CLA's Awards Gala during the annual conference. The California Library Hall of Fame was established in 2012 and is coordinated by CLA's Library History Interest Group.

2020 inductees

  • Elizabeth Martinez - Co-founded REFORMA in 1971, Director of the Orange County library director (1979 - 90), Director of the Los Angeles Public Library (1990), Executive Director of the American Library Association (1994 - 1997), Director of the Salinas Public Library (2007), Adjunct Faculty for the San José State University School of Information and serves on the library commission of the New Mexico State Library. Other honors include the ALA Equality Award (2013), Hispanic Librarian of the Year (1990), Orange County Women of Achievement Award (1986), and Hispanic Women Recognition Award (1982). In 1996, Martinez was named one of “100 Outstanding Hispanics” by Hispanic Magazine
  • Laura Steffens Suggett (1874-1946) - Laura Steffens served as Chief of California State Library’s new Extension Department (1903 - 1923), founding editor of News Notes of California Libraries, in 1917 was an administer in the new Sutro Library, and in 1924 self-published the highly influential book, The Beginning and the End of the Best Library Service in the World, a fitting tribute to the major outreach services she had developed for the state as well as the nation.

2019 inductees

  • Chuck Ashton (1948-2019) - Youth services manager at Redwood City Public Library, served on ALA’s Caldecott and School Age Programs and Service Committee as well as CLA’s Beatty Award Committee, was known for his popular Families for Literacy storyhours and as a result was awarded CLA’s first Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy award (2003).
  • Luis Herrera - Retired director of San Francisco Public Library (2005-2018), Pasadena Public Library director, president of CLA (1993), Public Library Association (2003-2004), and REFORMA (1982-1983), founding board member of the Digital Public Library of America, appointed in 2012 to the Institute of Museum and Library Services board by president Barack Obama, and Library Journal Librarian of the Year (2012).
  • Susan Hildreth - Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (2011-2015), State Librarian of California (2004-2009), San Francisco Public Library director (2001-2004), California Library Association president (2004), and, though now retired, currently serves as an Aspen Institute fellow.
  • Gary Kurutz - Special collections librarian emeritus for the California State Library, key figure in planning the recent remodel of the State Library’s Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, lecturer for UCLA’s California Rare Book School, author and editor of the California State Library Foundation Bulletin, and library history speaker extraordinaire.
  • Dorothea Nelson- Second city librarian for the Santa Maria Public Library (1934-1968), oversaw construction of a new library in 1941 and subsequent remodels, worked tirelessly to revamp Santa Barbara County Library service zones, and served as the first president of CLA’s Black Gold District (1963).
  • Virginia A. Walter - Former chair of and now professor emerita at UCLA Department of Information Studies, president of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) (2000-2001), ALA representative to International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) standing committees on Libraries for Children and Young People (2001-2005) and Reading and Literacy (2007-2011), author and contributor to sixteen monographs, and mentor to hundreds of children’s librarians.
  • Binnie Tate Wilkin - Professional storyteller and library consultant, one of the first African-American librarians to teach as adjunct faculty for several library schools including UCLA and UC Berkeley, honored by both the California Black Librarians Caucus and Black Caucus of ALA, and author of African American Librarians of the Far West: Pioneers and Trailblazers (2006).


2018 inductees

  • Betty Blackman currently retired, was dean of libraries at the California State University, Dominguez Hills, served as American Library Association board member, and was the first African-American person to be appointed dean of libraries by CSU.
  • Rue Randall Clifford (1887-1964), a high school teacher, acquired Carnegie funds to create the South San Francisco Public Library, where she served as secretary to the library board for 37 years.
  • Mabel Gillis (1882-1961) served as the first woman to be appointed California state librarian, a position she held for 22 years, and was a mentor to many young, mostly female librarians throughout the state.
  • Andrew Smith Hallidie (1834-1900), president of the Mechanics Institute of San Francisco, California’s oldest library to serve the public, helped draft the Rogers Act, which authorized California cities to establish public libraries and levy property taxes to fund library service.
  • J. Myron (Mike) Jacobstein (1920-2005) was Stanford University law librarian and professor of law, co-authored eight editions of the basic textbook Fundamentals of Legal Research and was one of the original editors of what eventually became the legal periodical index LegalTrac.
  • John Jewell (1940-2017) was the California State Library’s first microcomputer specialist, developed the online publication Studies in the News for state leaders, and ultimately served as chief of State Library services.
  • Frances Linn (1873-1962), Santa Barbara’s first public library director,was, as California Library Association vice president in 1927, responsible for creating and distributing the famous orange signs designating county library outlets throughout the state.
  • Everett Perry (1876-1933), director of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) for 23 years and president of the California Library Association in 1917, is best known for building LAPL’s iconic central library, one of the most significant public buildings in Los Angeles.


2017 inductees

  • Telsa Kelso (1863-1933) was an early director of the Los Angeles Public Library and one of the profession's most progressive and influential pioneers.
  • Effie Lee Morris (1921-2009), who established the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection at San Francisco Public Library, was a visionary who recognized the power of literacy and education in overcoming racism, inequality and poverty.
  • Waynn Pearson (1941-2017) was mentor to many as well as the mastermind behind the award-winning Cerritos "experience library," innovatively designed from the user's point of view.


2016 inductees

  •  Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), one of the greatest authors of the 20th century, was a passionate supporter of libraries.
  • Linda Crowe (1937-  ), is co-founder of Califa, led the merger of four cooperative library systems into the Pacific Library Partnership, and is a tireless advocate of robust broadband connectivity. 
  • Mary Foy (1862-1962), was the first female chief librarian of Los Angeles Public Library.
  • Anne Hadden (1874-1963), was the first director of the Monterey County Free Library and the inspiration for Patricia Beatty's Eight Mules from Monterey.
  • May Dexter Henshall (1867-1962), was a prominent school and county library organizer in the early 1900s.
  • Rosamond Parma (1884-1946), was the University of California's first law librarian and first female president of the American Association of Law Libraries.
  • Joseph Cummings Rowell (1853-1938), was UC Berkeley's first full-time librarian and first president of the California Library Association (1895-97).
  • Frances Clarke Sayers(1897-1989), was a renowned children's librarian, author, and library school educator.


2015 inductees

  • George T. Clark (1862-1940), early deputy state librarian and one of the original founders of CLA
  • Ruth Stoever Fleming (1910-1995), early 20th-century school librarian who collected and curated a nationally-recognized collection of California art for her library
  • Kate Foley (1873-1940), 1st librarian of the state library's library for the blind
  • Carleton B. Joeckel (1886-1960), initiator of the "larger units of service" movement that eventually led to the creation of California's regional library systems
  • Ella Morgan (1876-1958), California's 1st school librarian
  • Dr. Gail Schlachter (1943-2015), Librarian, leader, mentor, author, publisher, and philanthropist


2014 Inductees

  • Clara Breed (1909-1994), Former director of San Diego Public Library, who is perhaps best known for her advocacy on behalf of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II
  • Ina Coolbrith (1841-1928), Early Oakland city librarian and California’s first poet laureate
  • Harriet G. Eddy (1876-1966), California’s first county library organizer, who also helped develop library services in Russia
  • Liz Gibson (1942-2013), Popular California State Library consultant, who was a main force in helping libraries automate statewide
  • Barbara Jeffus (1946-   ), Recently retired school library consultant for the California Department of Education, who advocated on behalf of libraries at both the state and national levels
  • Charles Lummis (1859-1928), Colorful Southwestern cultural leader and early director of the Los Angeles Public Library
  • Joseph A. Rosenthal (1929-2012), Former university librarian at UC Berkeley, who helped establish the Research Libraries Group
  • David Sabsay (1931-2010), Former Sonoma county librarian and key architect behind the Public Library Development Act, which enabled the creation of regional systems in California


2013 Inductees

  • Essae Martha Culver (1882-1973), rural libraries pioneer, county librarian of Glenn, Butte, and Merced counties, and president of the American Library Association
  • Adelaide Hasse (1868-1953), created the Superintendent of Documents Classification System still in use today, wrote countless books and library articles, established the first library-training program in California, and was named one of the 100 most influential library leaders of the 20th century
  • Huell Howser (1945-2013), library and literacy advocate, TV host, and overall California booster
  • John Kallenberg (1942-2011), Fresno County Librarian, library advocate, and president of both the California Library Association and California Library Services Board
  • Ida May Reagan (1875-1971), county library organizer, and Butte County's first county librarian, a true "woman of the west"
  • Gretchen Knief Schenk (1901-1989), intellectual freedom defender, county library organizer, prolific author, and Washington State Librarian
  • Dr. Kevin Starr (1940-2017), California State Librarian, historian, beloved author, and eloquent library spokesperson
  • Althea Warren (1886-1958), beloved Los Angeles Public Library director and president of both the California and American Library Association
  • William Henry Weeks (1864-1936), created more Carnegie libraries in California than any other architect, made library users feel a part of something larger than life


2012 Inductees

  • James Gillis (1857-1917), former California State Librarian and architect of California's county library system.
  • Michael Gorman (1941-    ), retired California State University, Fresno, library director, prolific author, and American Library Association president in 2005/06.
  • Zoia Horn (1918-2014), noted intellectual freedom advocate.
  • Carma Leigh (1904-2009), former California State Librarian and federal funding advocate.
  • Miriam Matthews (1905-2003), first certified African-American librarian in California and intellectual freedom advocate during the McCarthy era.
  • Ursula Meyer (1927-2011), California Library Association president in 1977/78 and former director of Stockton-San Joaquin library.
  • Regina Minudri (1937-    ), outspoken proponent for public libraries, California Library Association president in 1980/81, and American Library Association president in 1986/87.
  • Lawrence Clark Powell (1906-2001), founder of the University of California, Los Angeles, library school, academic librarian, prolific author, and California Library Association president in 1949/50.
  • Harry Rowe (1921-2014), retired director of several public libraries in California and the California Library Association's longest continuous member.
  • Gary Strong (1944-    ), former California State Librarian and retired director of the University of California, Los Angeles libraries.