The Lois Lenski Lecture series is named for two-time Newberry award winning children's author and illustrator, Lois Lenski (1893-1974).
In the course of her career, she became friends with Illinois State University English professor Taimi Ranta (1916-1995). Ranta was instrumental in ensuring that Lenski donated many of her literary papers and the original art for some of her illustrations to Milner Library. The Lenski Lecture was named in honor of Lois Lenski, but Ranta's generosity of spirit was the inspiration for this fund.
The Lenski Lecture Series, first established in 1994, was the first named lecture series in children's literature in the United States. The purpose of this fund is to support the oldest and best-known speaker series of its kind.