Sherry KoshmanOn Friday, June 9th, more than 150 colleagues and friends gathered at the William Pitt Union to celebrate the retirement of Dr. Margaret Mary Kimmel, Professor and Chair of the Department of Library and Information Science at the School of Information Sciences.  Dr. Kimmel, officially retiring at the end of June, will continue to teach courses for the School.  SIS has a long history of creating leaders in children’s literature:  educators such as Frances Jenkins Olcott, Elva Smith, Elizabeth Nesbitt and Margaret Hodges told stories, inspired students and contributed to both professional literature and children’s books.

Dr. Kimmel, with her 28 years of dedicated service to educating library and children’s literature professionals, has continued this upstanding tradition with her teaching, her storytelling, and her publishing. Dr. Kimmel’s career as a librarian began at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, while her career as an educator began at Catholic University.  She was a Visiting Professor at the College of Librarianship in Wales and served on the faculty at Simmons College in Boston -- all prior to earning her doctorate in Library and Information Sciences here at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Throughout her illustrious career, Kimmel has made her mark on the library profession.  She has served as: Chair of the Department of Library and Information Science here at Pitt; Past President of the United States National Section of the International Board of Books for Young People; a member of the Advisory Board and Chair of the Board of Directors of Beginning with Books; a member of the Board of Directors for the Electronic Information Network; President of the Association of Library Service to Children; a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Council of Western Pennsylvania; and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Dr. Kimmel has been recognized for her dedication and efforts on behalf of her community and the profession.  Seton Hill College awarded her an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters and Carlow College nominated her a “Woman of Spirit” in 2000.  The University of Pittsburgh bestowed upon her the “Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh honored her in 2002 as “A Special Friend to Children.”

In addition to being a library professional, Dr. Kimmel is noted as an excellent teacher, one who inspires her students and her colleagues.  She has taught courses on “Understanding Information,” “Resources for Children,” “History of Children’s Literature,” and “Storytelling,” one of the most popular courses offered in the SIS curriculum.

Kimmel’s publications include both stories and instructions for those who tell stories.  Readers have enjoyed “Magic in the Mist” and her spoken recording of “Trickster, Fools & Heroes” while educators and librarians have immersed themselves in “For Reading Out Loud!  A Guide to Sharing Books with Children” and “Excellence in School Media Programs.”  She has served as the series editor for “Children’s Books in Western Pennsylvania,” published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her love of story – and of children – led to her involvement in the powerful and enduring television show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” a much-beloved staple on PBS.  As a consultant, Dr. Kimmel contributed greatly to this landmark television program; in fact, she edited a book about the program and its humble host:  “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood:  Children, Television and Fred Rogers.”   

Dr. Kimmel’s colleagues, friends and family recognized her 28 years of service with contributions to the Margaret Hodges Scholarship Fund here at the School of Information Sciences.  Dr. Hodges, like Dr. Kimmel, was one of the many here at the University of Pittsburgh who advanced the field, who contributed to the body of literature meant for children, and who inspired students to do the same. More than $5000 was donated to the fund in honor of Dr. Kimmel’s retirement; these funds will support a graduate student here at SIS who demonstrates high academic achievement and an interest in working with children in a public library setting.  Generations of future librarians will benefit from the generosity of those kind enough to donate to the Scholarship Fund in honor of Dr. Margaret Mary Kimmel.