School of Information Sciences

The iSchool remembers Professor Emerita Margaret Mary "Maggie" Kimmel


The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences (iSchool) regrets to announce the passing of renowned storyteller Professor Emerita Margaret Mary “Maggie” Kimmel. Dr. Kimmel passed away on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Kimmel was a born storyteller and a relentless advocate for children’s librarianship. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Library Science degrees at Dominican University and received her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Library and Information Science in 1980.

Professor Kimmel began her career at the iSchool as an associate professor in 1978 in the Department of Library Science and became a full professor in 1983 until her retirement in 2006. From 1990 to 1995, Kimmel served as department chair. She appeared as a storyteller and worked with Fred Rogers as an advisor on the television program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” and was named a “Real Pittsburgher” by Pittsburgh Magazine. Two of Dr. Kimmel’s favorite books were To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Caddie Woodlawn, a story about a 19th century Wisconsin 10-year-old girl who kept getting in trouble.

When told of Kimmel’s passing, the iSchool’s Dean Ronald L. Larsen said, “Maggie’s vitality, spirit and go-get-‘em attitude will be her legacy for many years to come and will keep Maggie, and all the wonderful years we had with her, in our hearts and in our minds.” Kimmel is remembered as “dedicated, creative, passionate and generous” by colleagues and former students and as “a national leader in the field and a selfless mentor to many.”

Throughout her professional career, Dr. Kimmel held multiple positions with the American Library Association (ALA), lectured and served as a consultant in both the U.S. and abroad, was a member of the Board of Directors of The Children’s Council of Western Pennsylvania and the Advisory Board of Beginning With Books, a literacy project for children. Her research interests included resources for and reading interests of children and young adults, library service to special groups, education for library and information science, and emergent literacy.

In recognition of her teaching efforts, Dr. Kimmel received the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996, was named one of Carlow College’s 12 Women of Spirit in 2000, and honored as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. Kimmel was recognized for her commitment to children’s literacy by the Association of Library Service to Children with the Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh honored her in 2002 as “A Special Friend to Children.” The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) planned to honor Dr. Kimmel as the 2014 “Caregiver Champion” for the Sixth Annual UPMC Senior Services Celebrating Senior Champions Dinner and Auction in October.

A memorial service for Dr. Kimmel will be held Tuesday, June 17 at St. James Catholic Church, 718 Franklin Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA 15221. Read Dr. Kimmel's obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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