History

In 1945, librarian Frances Henne began scripting children’s book reviews out of the University of Chicago’s Center for Instructional Materials. Henne’s work was meant to aid teachers and schools as they developed curriculum. Under its first official editors, Alice Brooks McGuire and Mary Katherine Eakin, the newsletter gained an attentive audience, and the Materials Center established itself as a space for research dedicated to studying child development and literacy. Years later, Eakin became the librarian of the renamed Children’s Book Center, whose monthly Bulletin was sponosored by the University of Chicago Library and later the university’s Graduate Library School.

Continuing to produce quality and influential reviews, the Children’s Book Center also began a policy of keeping received books for five years for evaluation by a small committee. In 1958, the Bulletin was renamed the Bulletin at the Center for Children’s Books and the Children’s Book Center became the Center for Children’s Books. This was also the start of Zena Sutherland’s tenure at the Bulletin, first serving as the Editorial Assistant before rising into the role of Editor. Elevated by Sutherland’s leadership, the Bulletin celebrated a diversity of authors and illustrators, while noting the significance of the literature as a tool in education and helping youth foster connections to their communities. Sutherland remained associated with the Center mentoring subsequent Bulletin Editors Roger Sutton and Betsy Hearne and supporting the Bulletin’s publications. 

After the closing of the University of Chicago Library School in 1992, the Center moved to the University of Illinois where it affiliated with what is now Illinois’s iSchool program. The Center remained committed to providing materials and guidance to librarians, students, and faculty during this transitory period. In 2001, the CCB moved into a standalone unit and expanded its research and outreach initiatives on campus and beyond. The CCB looks forward to coordinating with the Bulletin as a vocal advocate for Youth Services scholarship and advocacy in the years to come.