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California Library Hall of Fame: Frances Clarke Sayers
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California Library Hall of Fame

Frances Clarke Sayers  (1897-1989)

Frances Clarke Sayers began her career as a children’s librarian, first working for Anne Carroll Moore at New York Public Library (1918-1923) and later as school librarian at the Corinne Seeds University Elementary School on the UCLA campus. While at UCLA, she was asked by Lawrence Clark Powell to teach in the university’s new library program. Thus, in 1960, Sayers became a founding faculty member of UCLA’s School of Library Service. She also lectured at other universities, including U.C. Berkeley.  She had a profound influence on the status and role of children’s library services, particularly the evaluation and use of children’s literature. She developed collaborative relationships with celebrated editors, authors, and illustrators and was a frequent contributor to the Horn Book and other review journals. “Summoned by Books,” one of her most famous essays, was first delivered at the California Library Association conference in 1962. Sayers’ impact at the national level is evidenced by her successful proposal (ca. 1942) for a dedicated Children’s Room in the Library of Congress.  UCLA holds an annual lecture series in her honor and the American Library Association has named her one of the “100 most important leaders of the 20th century.”


Frances  Clarke Sayers was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2016. For more information about her, please see:

  • “Frances Clarke Says,” Wikipedia


Photo credit: Walter Holt