2016 Elizabeth Yates Award Winner Announced

The Concord Public Library Foundation is pleased to announce that Ellen Kenny has been selected as the 2016 Elizabeth Yates Award winner for her work inspiring young children to read!

Ellen Kenny has been an English Language Learners teacher at Broken Ground Elementary School in Concord for many years. We received several nominations on her behalf, including one from Terri Smith who noted, “with [Ellen’s] artful and creative approach to engaging children and celebrating their reading gains, she is positive and tireless in her direct support of children in the Concord community.”

Another nomination added, “a staunch child advocate, [Ellen] is the number one referral source for our mentoring program. [She goes] above and beyond to position her young students to receive a 1:1 mentor who provides English language immersion beyond classroom time.” Ellen also encourages mentors to read to students and visit community libraries.

As a longtime advocate of Concord Public Library, Ellen explains “I believe the library, and the free access it provides to all, is the cornerstone of civilization.” But Ellen doesn’t just state her beliefs, she puts her words into action by bringing her students to the library whenever possible, making sure they obtain a patron card, and helping them understand all the resources available. In her words, “I think some of my students practically lived at the library, especially during the summer.” And as her students matriculated to middle and high school, their success stories is the best testimony to the benefits of Ellen’s work.

It is Ellen’s passion for libraries and their benefit to all children, but most especially to new young Americans, that led us to select her to receive this award. Ellen’s quiet but continuing support of encouraging children to read is a shining example of true advocacy for children’s literacy and public libraries.

The Elizabeth Yates Award honors Concord resident and children’s author Elizabeth Yates, who was a strong advocate of reading and who supported library programs in the Concord community during her lifetime. Elizabeth Yates received the first award named in her honor in 1994. The Elizabeth Yates Award was begun in 1994 to honor an individual in the greater Concord area who is actively engaged in inspiring young people to read.

This award can be presented to authors, illustrators, storytellers, teachers, librarians, or others involved in encouraging reading. Submissions for nominees are accepted from June through February and are considered by the Elizabeth Yates Award Committee. The recipient of the Elizabeth Yates Award will be notified in March, with a reception held in May.