After 28 years as Head of Children's Services at the Stratford Library, I retired in February 2022.
I have served on many ALSC committees, including the 2004 Newbery Award, the 2016 Children's Literacy Legacy Award, and the 2019 & 2020 Program Coordinating Committees. I chaired the Library Service to Special Populations and Their Caregivers Committee in 2007-08, when we created the guidelines for the Light the Way Grant and selected the first winners. Later, I worked with the ALSC Board and Candlewick Press to ensure that it would be awarded annually. I also chaired the 2012 Carnegie/Notable Videos Committee and co-chaired the 2017 Annual Preconference Planning Committee. I have attended over 50 ALA conference over the years, often bringing one of my children along. I am proud to report that both of my daughters are now librarians!
At the Stratford Library, I am most proud of creating over 70 Leading to Reading kits containing books and activities that parents can use to help their preschool children gain early literacy skills.
Most recently, I worked on our Healing Library kits, which contain books, activities, and resources to help families cope with difficult life events such as death of a person, death of a pet, or divorce. In 2020, I created an online kit, Coping with the Coronavirus, which can be accessed from the library's website at http://stratfordlibrary.org/healing-library-coping-with-coronavirus/
I also created online kits on Death of a Loved One and Coping with Childhood Anxiety, which are available on the Stratford Library website. For my work in developing the Healing Library kits, I was honored with the Faith Hektoen Award from the Connecticut Library Association in 2021.
I am also a published author. I wrote the very first book about Summer Reading Clubs, published by McFarland & Co. in 1992, as well as four other library resource books. Lately, I have turned my attention toward writing for children and have published three picture books: What Not to Give Your Mom on Mother's Day, The Dreidel That Wouldn't Spin: A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah, and Esther's Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim. You can find out more about them on my author website, https://www.martha-seif-simpson.com/
As a member of the Association of Jewish Libraries, I am the current chair of the 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Committee.