Kids' World's Maria Papanastassiou receives national honor

Photo of I Love My Librarian Award Winner Maria Papanastassiou


Maria Papanastassiou, Kids’ World assistant manager at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library (AHML), is a winner of this year’s I Love My Librarian Award. Maria is one of only 10 librarians in the country to receive this prestigious national award presented by the American Library Association (ALA).

Recognized for her leadership in transforming lives through access to education, Maria's efforts have helped position AHML at the forefront of serving children who are differently abled. Papanastassiou’s work, passion and dedication has helped families with diverse needs find a home at the library.

Much of what Maria has accomplished lies rooted in her exceptional skills as a collaborator. For the past several years, Maria has served as the library’s key architect for an innovative partnership between AHML and C.I.T.Y. (Children in Therapy and You) of Support, a neighboring nonprofit, whose mission is to “create a dynamic community, both online and in person, that supports all families navigating the needs of their child in therapy.

In addition to her work with the library, she has acted as a mentor through the Association for Library Service to Children Mentoring Program. Her collaboration with a community college librarian in Des Moines, Iowa, resulted in the Arlington Heights library’s first IEP Binder Making and Lego Party.

ALA receives I Love My Librarian Award nominations from the general public that showcase the lasting contributions of dynamic librarians working in public, school, college, community college and university libraries. This year library users nationwide submitted 1,974 detailing how their favorite librarians have gone above and beyond to improve community members’ lives.

Since the award’s inception in 2008, ALA has selected up to 10 librarians from a pool of hundreds of nominations each year, and Maria is only the second Illinois librarian to have received this honor. This year’s recipients will receive their awards in Philadelphia on Jan. 25, 2020, at 3 p.m. during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits. 

Carnegie Corporation of New York generously sponsors the I Love My Librarian Award. The New York Public Library and the New York Times are award co-sponsors. The ALA administers the award through ALA’s Communications and Marketing Office, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians.

Read more about the award,  Maria’s nomination and the other award recipients at