Claudette S. McLinn is the founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL.org). She is a retired District Supervising Librarian in Library Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District with over 34 years of experience as a teacher, librarian, and administrator in elementary and secondary education. She was the owner of a children's bookstore for over 20 years. She was also an Adjunct Professor at California State University, Long Beach where she taught graduate courses in children’s literature and young adult literature with a focus on multicultural literature. She has been active in the American Library Association (ALA), including serving on the Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré (as chair), and Caldecott Award Committees. She was an inaugural member of the Kirkus Prize Committee for Young Reader's Literature and judge for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature. Since 2011, McLinn created the CSMCL Día Grant with an African America Focus, which is funded by CSMCL in partnership with the ALA/Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC) and author Pat Mora, the founder of Children’s Day, Book Day/ El día de los niños, El día de los libros; often known as Día.
McLinn received her Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership and Master of Science degree in School Administration and Management from Pepperdine University. She also received her Master of Science Degree in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University. She is a member of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology's Board of Visitors at Pepperdine University.
McLinn currently chaired the 2022 Caldecott Medal Award Committee and presently serves as Board member of USBBY. She is past executive chair of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee and past chair of the Coretta Scott King 50th Anniversary Celebration Planning Committee. She has received numerous awards including the 2014 Dorothy C. McKenzie Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Children's Literature presented by the Children's Literature Council of Southern California; 2015 BCALA Appreciation Award; 2020 recipient of the ALA/Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) Distinguished Service Award; and 2022 Charlotte S. Huck Endowed Speaker Award sponsored by the Charlotte S. Huck Foundation, University of Redlands (California).