SILS Alumna Demetria Tucker 2013 recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

May 22, 2013

Demetria TuckerDemetria Tucker (MSLS ’78), senior family and youth services librarian for the Pearl Bailey Library, and alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, is the recipient of the 2013 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award will be formally presented at a special awards ceremony during the annual ALA Conference in Chicago, IL on June 29, 2013.

“Through consummate dedication and nurturing, Demetria Tucker has for more than 30 years served as an inspiration for children and their families in Virginia’s public and school libraries,” stated American Library Association Award committee chair Pauletta Brown Bracy.

As senior family and youth services librarian for the Pearl Bailey Library, a branch of the Newport News Va. Public Library System, Tucker coordinates a youth leadership program, a teen urban literature club and many other programs that support the youth of her community. She previously served as youth services coordinator within the Roanoke, Va. Public Library System and library media specialist at the Forest Park Elementary School, where she was selected 2007 Teacher of the Year.

“I’m going to use three words... shocked, humbled and honored!” said Tucker. “It is truly a humbling experience to realize that the work that I do is being held in such esteem. Both Mrs. Coretta Scott King and Virginia Hamilton were driven by passion. These two remarkable women displayed strength, leadership and service throughout their lives. Mrs. King stood alongside her husband in the struggle of service for equality for all Americans. Mrs. Hamilton served us through her wonderful works of literature for children and young adults thus becoming the first African-American to receive the Newbery Award Medal in 1975.”

“I must also add that I have been blessed to work for and with some of the most creative and passionate individuals,” Tucker adds. “I have been fortunate to work with library directors who empowered me to take risks and make my own decisions. I've worked with and have learned from people in my profession who care about making a difference in the lives of young people.”

Demetria TuckerThe Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement is named in memory of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton.

Virginia Hamilton was an award-winning author of children’s books. She wrote more than 35 books throughout her career, including “M. C. Higgins, the Great,” for which she won the 1975 Newbery Medal. During her lifetime, Hamilton received numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

In odd years (i.e. 2013, 2015, 2017…), the award is presented to a practitioner for substantial contributions through active engagement with youth using award-winning African American literature for children and/or young adults, via implementation of reading and reading-related activities/programs. The recipient may be a public librarian, academic librarian, school librarian (public or private), an educator (preK-12 or any level therein, or higher education) or youth literature advocate whose vocation, work, volunteer service or ongoing promotion of books with and/or on behalf of youth is significant and sustained.

In even years, the award is presented to an African American author, illustrator or author/illustrator who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution, for a body of his or her published books for children and/or adults. 

For more information on the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.