Janice Del Negro is an educator, author, and professional storyteller whose career and research have made a considerable impact on youth services and library programming.
Del Negro earned her BA from CUNY Hunter College (1977), an MLS degree from SUNY Geneseo (1980), and a PhD from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science (2007). Before being recruited as Bulletin editor, Del Negro worked at the Chicago Public Library as the Assistant Head of Systemwide Children’s Services and served as a consultant at the State Library of North Carolina.1
Del Negro was editor of the Bulletin from 1996 to 2001 and, between 2001-2004, served as the first director of the Center for Children’s Books, a new position designed to expand the scope of the Center beyond its central work of publishing the Bulletin. As director, Del Negro coordinated the day-to-day operations of the Center’s non-circulating collection and spearheaded research and outreach efforts. Del Negro brought a wealth of storytelling experience to the Center. She instituted Valentine’s Day storytelling concerts as opportunities for University of Illinois students and staff to interact with experienced storytellers, learning from their craft. In a similar vein, Del Negro created the Storytelling Review in 1999. This single-issue publication evaluated audio selections from then-contemporary professional storytellers and was designed to stimulate school and public libraries’ creation of storytelling collections. Del Negro’s years as director also saw preparation for moving the Center to a new home in the basement of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science building, Daniel 5.
In 2004, Del Negro left the University of Illinois for Dominican University, where she continues as faculty.2 A respected professional storyteller, Del Negro sits on the board of the Illinois Storytelling, Inc. and the Northlands Storytelling Network. Del Negro has authored award-winning picture books including Lucy Dove (1998) and Willa and the Wind (2005), the story collection Passion and Poison (2007), and textbooks including Engaging Teens with Story: How to Inspire and Educate Youth with Storytelling (2017).3 In the fall of 2020, the Illinois Library Association (ILA) named Del Negro as an Illinois Library Luminary. This honor celebrates esteemed careers that significantly advanced library communities in Illinois.4
1 “Director Bio,” CCB Files, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.