California has a rich and fascinating history of librarianship, and the California Library Hall of Fame honors the historical significance and lifetime achievements of the many librarians, library workers and supporters who have helped promote and improve library services in the state.
Now, Marin County Free Library’s recently retired Deputy Director Bonny White joins the ranks of these historical figures as one of three inductees into the 2021 California Library Hall of Fame.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Bonny and the incredible work she did with Marin’s underserved communities while at the Marin County Free Library,” states Gabriella Calicchio, Interim Library Director. “Her dedication, passion, and support of every Marin resident is so important and her induction into the California Library Hall of Fame is so well deserved.”
Starting her career at the Marin County Free Library as a contingent library worker, White eventually filled almost every position from library assistant to Deputy Director over two decades of service.
Now retired, White made a significant impact on the local, state and national library profession by creating and supporting library services to underserved communities, such as her ‘Reading on the Ranches’ summer reading and learning program for families in rural West Marin.
White was also a core member of the county’s Government Alliance on Race and Equity. Moreover, she was certified by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide first-level immigration services and support to undocumented people seeking a legal pathway to U.S. citizenship.
Marin County Free Library was actually one of the few libraries in the country certified by the DOJ to provide this service during the Trump administration and is now considered a national model for other libraries offering immigration services.
In addition, White led the effort to abolish late fines at the Marin County Free Library, leading libraries across the country to contact her for advice as they followed suit.
The California Library Hall of Fame inducts no more than ten people in any given year, and White is one of only three inductees into the hall this year.
The other 2021 California Library Hall of Fame inductees are Michael Buckland, Professor emeritus and former Dean of the School Library and Information Studies at UC Berkeley; and Hiroshi Kashiwagi (1922-2019), a Japanese-American author, poet, actor, civil rights activist and librarian who developed the west coast’s largest collection of Japanese language materials at the Western Addition Branch of San Francisco Public Library. All three inductees will be honored at the CLA annual conference in June.