Jess Alexander is the Recipient of the 2022 Youth Services Librarian of the Year Award

Youth Services Forum (YSF)

September 9, 2022

The Illinois Library Association’s Youth Services Forum is presenting this year’s Youth Services Librarian of the Year Award to Jess Alexander, Youth Services Librarian at the Morton Grove Public Library. This annual award, presented by the ILA Youth Services Forum and Children’s Plus Inc., is in honor of Marion Davis for her active role in services to children at the Des Plaines Public Library. Davis often served as a mentor to other librarians. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in library services to youth. Since its inception in 1971, the award has been presented to individuals who exemplify resourcefulness, professionalism, and caring in their service to young people.

Alexander began their career at Morton Grove Public Library in 2011 as a youth services information assistant. In 2013, when they completed their MLIS, they were promoted to librarian. Alexander has been inventing programs for youth and families since they began at Morton Grove nine years ago. Alexander continues to grow, thrive, and inspire those around them.

During Alexander's tenure at the Morton Grove Public Library, they have played a significant role in creating STEM-focused programming for the public, whether through the long-running Mathematics Tea Party, Family Engineering Night, or through huge events that inspire the public such as the Planetarium build. Alexander also takes complex STEM concepts and breaks them down into smaller bite-size morsels that are easily digested by both the children who attend the programs and their parents and caregivers.

Additionally, Alexander has been invited to present at the IYSI conference several times. Alexander is seen as an inspiration to other librarians, encouraging them to take on subjects with which they are less familiar and in which they have less confidence. Alexander is always ready to lend a hand, to share information, or to encourage others to pursue similar initiatives in other libraries.

In recent years, Alexander has taken on a leadership role in the LACONI YSS Board and has helped bring virtual events and learning opportunities to librarians across the state. This past year Alexander has served as the LACONI YSS President. Again, Alexander jumps at any chance to share their wealth of knowledge with any librarian interested in what they have to offer.

Congratulations to Jess Alexander, the 2022 recipient of the ILA Youth Services Librarian of the Year Award!

The Youth Services Librarian of the Year will be presented at an Awards Ceremony during the 2022 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference. The conference will take place October 18-20, 2022, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.

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