Theresa Venable, librarian at the Childrenâ€™s Defense Fund Haley Farmâ€™s Langston Hughes Library, has been selected as the 2011 winner of the Zora Neale Hurston Award.
Venable was chosen for her work in library programming designed to promote African-American authors and African-American illustrators of childrenâ€™s picture books. Examples of Venableâ€™s programming include directing the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture sponsored by the Association of Library Service to Children and coordinating the 2010 Big Read sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.Â
The 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture focused on African-American authors and illustrators of childrenâ€™s literature. The lecture by noted childrenâ€™s author Walter Dean Myers was accompanied by workshops, a panel discussion and an art show featuring favorite African-American childrenâ€™s books.
The 2010 Big Read featured â€œTheir Eyes Were Watching Godâ€ by Zora Neale Hurston. Venable worked with local high schools to present an afternoon program that included dramatic vignettes, readerâ€™s theaterÂ and lectures for adults and children.
The Zora Neale Hurston Award is administered by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association. This award recognizes an American Library Association member for significant efforts to promote African-American authors and literature. Through the generous sponsorship of HarperCollins, the award enables the winner to further their professional development to continue this work.
Venable was selected by the 2011 Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee, whose members include Cynthia Crosser (chair) and Amy Harmon.
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