Celebrating Senior Champions
Margaret Mary Kimmel, PhD
To Be Honored Posthumously
| Photo Courtesy of Martha Rial|
Dr. Margaret Mary Kimmel was Professor Emeritus in the Library and Information Science Program at the School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, where she was Chair for nine years. Dr. Kimmel has taught a variety of graduate courses related to children, literature and the provision of library services. She has lectured extensively in the United States, presenting workshops and programs for teachers, librarians and parents. Two years as a visiting professor at the College of Librarianship Wales provided her with the opportunity to visit libraries and library education programs in Great Britain, West Germany and France. She was a guest of the French Ministry of Culture, evaluating libraries and museums for children in Paris and spent two weeks in Spain lecturing about American children's literature for the State Department.
Dr. Kimmel's professional activities include a variety of assignments within the American Library Association: president of the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), chair of the Committee on Accreditation, chair of the Office of Library Personnel Advisory Committee, a member of ALA's Council, and chair of the Standing Committee on Library Education. As a member of the Association of Library Service to Children she served on the Newbury/Caldecott Committee and the ALSC Board of Directors, as well as a number of other committees. She is past president of the United States national section of the International Board on Books for Young People. For three years, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Library and Information Science Education.
In Pittsburgh Kimmel has served as a member of The Carnegie 100, an advisory group to The Carnegie Institute, and as a member of the Advisory Board of Beginning with Books (BwB), a literacy project providing books to parents through well-baby clinics and other social service agencies. She was the first Chair of the Board for Beginning with Books and chaired the “Best Books for Babies” Committee for thirteen years. With the Fred Rogers Company and the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, Kimmel organized a project, “Reading is the Fifth Food Group,” to distribute 225 sets of 2010’s Best Books for Babies to 225 food pantries and agencies. She is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of Canterbury Place, an active residence for elders and is also on the Board of Visitors of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) as well as the Board of Senior Communities, a division of UPMC. She is Chair of the Advisory Council for the UPMC Disabilities Resource Center. Dr. Kimmel is also on the Board of the FISA Foundation, a regional foundation whose mission includes issues related to women and children and people with disabilities.
Kimmel has served on the Board of Directors for the Heartwood Institute, which has developed an ethics curriculum used in many school districts. She served as one of twelve term trustees elected to the Board of Trustees for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and was also on the Executive Committee. She has served as the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's representative to the Board of Directors of the Electronic Information Network, a project linking 43 public libraries in Allegheny County to each other and to the Internet.
Her writing includes Magic in the Mist, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman and For Reading Out Loud! with Elizabeth Segel. She edited a series of children’s books for the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Golden Triangle Books, set in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Dr. Kimmel worked with Fred Rogers as an advisor to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and has directed a project analyzing and indexing the video work of Rogers for research access. She appeared as storyteller on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." She edited, with Mark Collins, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Children, Television, and Fred Rogers which was published in 1996/97 by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and for more than ten years she wrote a quarterly bibliography for care givers in the "Around the Neighborhood" newsletter. She is now a Fellow of the Rogers Center for Media and Early Childhood at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA. With Mark Collins, Kimmel wrote an essay on the legacy of Fred Rogers, “The Wonder of It All: Fred Rogers and the Story of an Icon,” published by the Rogers’ Center in October, 2008.
Dr. Kimmel's contributions have been recognized in several quarters. She was named a "Real Pittsburgher" by the Pittsburgh Magazine and received an honorary degree of Humane Letters from Seton Hill University in Greensburg. An emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) established the Margaret Mary Kimmel Scholarship awarded yearly, allowing one of the CLP staff to pursue study leading to a Master's degree in Library Science. In 1996 Dr. Kimmel received the University of Pittsburgh's Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Award. Dr. Kimmel was named by Carlow University as a 2000 "Woman of Spirit," "an award to focus attention on the accomplishments of women who are leaders in their fields and who exemplify the College's mission to render competent and compassionate service in their personal and professional lives." Governor Ridge named Dr. Kimmel as a 2000 Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania and she now serves on the Executive Committee of the Distinguished Daughters. The 2001 Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Library Service to Children has recognized her contribution to the profession. Kimmel was identified as a Distinguished Alumna by Dominican University for 2001, and in 2002 was recognized as “Outstanding Friend to Children” by Pittsburgh’s Children’s Museum. The United Cerebral Palsy Association of Western Pennsylvania awarded her the 2010 Leibovitz Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Kimmel served as Chair of the Canterbury Place Board of Directors for nearly 20 years, served on the UPMC Board of Trustees, the UPMC Board of Visitors and was Chair of the Advisory Council for the UPMC Disabilities Resource Center. Dr. Kimmel spearheaded efforts to improve access to health care for seniors and people with diabilities.
Sadly, Dr. Kimmel passed away on June 10, 2014. She will be honored posthumously at the Dinner.