School Librarians of the Year Offer Ideas, Inspiration | Back to School – School Library Diary | Mega Mediakw

KC Boyd, Amanda Jones, Cicely Lewis and other School Librarians of the Year share new plans and perspectives for 2022-23.

Illustration by Nathalie Dieterle

Amanda Jones

2021 SCHOOL LIBRARY OF THE YEAR

What three new things are you planning for 2022-23?

• Incorporating more primary source documents into the classroom. I will show what the Library of Congress offers online and combine these primary source documents with picture books.
• I will step in as President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL) in 2022-23 and plan to work to unite and advocate for Louisiana school librarians at the state level. I hope to persuade the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to include school librarians in the state’s new literacy initiative by hosting a professional development day for LDOE and LASL with the help of a grant from the American Association of School Librarians.
• Host special after-school events for students. I would like to offer a minicon around manga, a natural hair workshop and a digital citizenship workshop for students and parents.

What keeps you up at night?

Current legislation in our state and across the country. I fear that legislation and movements to challenge and ban books, particularly works by marginalized authors and for marginalized communities, will continue. Our students deserve better.

what keeps you going

I’ve worked in the small town where I grew up for 21 years. I see a brighter future for our students that can be achieved through knowledge and a solid school library program. I want our students to know that there is a whole world of opportunities and people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Ali Schipp

2018 SCHOOL LIBRARY OF THE YEAR

What three new things are you planning for 2022? 23?

• I do research on rural school libraries and look forward to networking with school librarians from similar areas and sharing how our work impacts student success.
• We host local elementary school students while their school is being renovated. Pre-K class is right next to my library. Our middle school students will read to them and give mini-lessons. I think it will be worth it for everyone.
• Plant! We will continue our student-run library garden. Students plant, water and name them. This spring they grew marigolds and zinnias. Many students and teachers drop by just to talk to the plants! We also received seedlings from the Arbor Day Foundation that students have planted on campus.

What keeps you up at night?

I used to get annoyed about school consolidations. Now that this is inevitable, I see it as an opportunity to reach a new age group and make more resources available to our learners. I hope for a return of support for our public educators and community schools. We need to promote people, not products. Privatization has led to a drop in enrollments. It is vital to prepare students for the world of work and provide them with pathways in areas such as computer science so that they can work remotely and continue to live in our rural community.

what keeps you going

My children – all, always!

2017 SCHOOL LIBRARY OF THE YEAR

What three new things are you planning for 2022-23?

To assist school librarians and school library managers in building libraries that all students deserve, lead, support and advocate.

What keeps you up at night?

Reading page turners on a plethora of topics and storylines can keep me awake past my bedtime.

what keeps you going

The school library is a retreat. The services and programs provided by libraries are life changing and have a positive impact on the lives of others. Assisting in the design, planning and implementation of teams for school libraries keeps me going.

Anita Cellucci

2016 SCHOOL LIBRARY OF THE YEAR FINALIST

What three new things are you planning for 2022-23?

• Dive deeper into the pedagogy with Guided Inquiry Design together with the Department of Social Studies. A new cohort of five teachers will create an Inquiry Process Research orientation within the curriculum.
• Bibliotherapy with the English Department creating a more linear approach to ensuring equality and justice with a literature-based practice.
• Continuing a new collaboration with the local public library and Teen Advisory Board to create an intergenerational reading community. Students work together to create a positive literacy culture that amplifies the voices and stories of students, educators, and writers of color. We are also collaborating with the National Museum of Mental Health Project by creating a chapter in our school library to encourage continuous education, empathy and acceptance.

What keeps you up at night?

The constant challenge of providing my students with what they need in an ever-changing educational landscape, be it an authentic safe space, a caring and empathetic adult, or an adult willing to speak up for the things that often go on in the background stay.

what keeps you going

My students. The little thanks, the quick check-ins, the heart-to-heart calls. But we also need colleagues who can act as our touchpoints; Those people in the building who can reach us easily and know when we need that encouragement, coffee, chocolate or a quick “just drop by”. We do this for each other, and it’s essential to being effective educators.

Kristina Holzweiß

2015 SCHOOL LIBRARY OF THE YEAR

Edtech Librarian, Syosset (NY) High School

What three new things are you planning for 2022-23?

• Last year, I supported our school’s speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and students in our work-based learning program. Our students designed buttons that express appreciation for our employees and promote mental well-being with positive messages. They will continue to use the Cricut machine to design and assemble vinyl shapes to create customized sensory walks for our elementary schools.
• I will be continuing a podcasting program I started last year with our special education students using Flip (formerly Flipgrid).
• I plan to network further with my colleagues for Edcamp Cardigan Camp on November 12th. It is an international event by librarians for librarians. This year we will host virtual and in-person events.

What keeps you up at night?

Concerns about equity, inclusivity and accessibility. Too many US schools do not have certified school librarians. Districts, counties and states use loopholes to save money at the expense of our students’ access to trained educators.

what keeps you going

I am part of a larger learning community of intelligent, dedicated school librarians who value students’ right to information and who genuinely care about children and the future of our society.

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