Inside the Minds of Top Teacher-Librarians

April is School Library Month and we are kicking it off with the 2016 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year Award! This third-annual award honors K–12 library professionals for outstanding achievement and the exemplary use of 21st-century tools and services to engage children and teens toward fostering multiple literacies. 

Over the past two years, we have had the privilege of recognizing passionate, creative library leaders, including 2015 School Librarian of the Year Kristina Holzweiss of Bay Shore Middle School on Long Island, NY, and 2014 winner Michelle Colte of Hale Kula Elementary School in Wahiawa, HI. Whether they are making global connections through social media, elevating learning through play, creating a need-based school library, or implementing maker-spaces, these librarians push boundaries to elevate student learning and inspire their peers. 

In honor of School Library Month, we've put together a round-up of blog posts from some top teacher-librarians—School Librarian of the Year Award winners and finalists. (Be sure to click each author's name to follow on Twitter!) 

My Story: From a Job Cut to Becoming School Librarian of the Year
By Kristina Holzweiss 
Kristina Holzweiss began her education career as a 7th grade English teacher in her hometown. After a long journey, including a job-cut, Kristina eventually found her “happily ever after” as the Bay Shore Middle School librarian in Bay Shore, NY. In 2015, she was named School Librarian of the Year! Her goal: To inspire other librarians to tell their stories—how they make a difference in students’ lives.

School Librarians Open a World of Possible for Students
By Sally Smollar
2015 School Librarian of the Year Award finalist Sally Smollar of Plumosa School of the Arts in Delray Beach, FL explores the power of connecting people to stories, information and opportunities. School librarians have the opportunity to touch the lives of students and open a world of possible, even in the most unexpected ways.

Embracing Change: Creating a Need-Based School Library is Not One-Size-Fits-All
By Lakisha Brinson
Lakisha Brinson is currently a school librarian at Amqui Elementary School in Nashville, TN and was named a School Librarian of the Year Award finalist in 2015. She describes her journey implementing three different approaches to developing a learning hub within three different schools throughout her career as a teacher-librarian.

How I elevate learning through play
By Michelle Colte
2014 School Librarian of the Year Michelle Colte of Hale Kula Elementary School in Wahiawa, HI asks, “How can I, as an elementary school librarian, foster opportunities for playful discovery and exploration? How can I incorporate hands-on learning, driven by students’ own curiosity?” To answer this, she has adopted a new mindset and looked to museums and other libraries for inspiration.

School librarians helping to facilitate global connections
By Colleen Graves 
Twenty-first century librarians are tech savvy and dynamic—they can help teachers make global connections by connecting with authors, other classrooms and curricular experts or mentors. 2014 School Librarian of the Year Award Finalist Colleen Graves of Lamar Middle School in Flower Mound, TX discusses tips and tools for librarians expand their networks and transform learning.

One school librarian's goal for the year: Empower student voice
By Andy Plemmons
Andy Plemmons of David C. Barrow Elementary School in Athens, GA had one goal in mind when he was named School Librarian of the Year Award Finalist in 201: to empower student voice. Here he examines the powerful moments in the library that allow students to raise their voices in authentic ways and connect with global experiences.

 

Interested in submitting a nomination for the 2016 School Librarian of the Year Award? Visit the School Library Journal website here. (Nominations close May 20, 2016.)

 

Thank you to Brittany Sullivan for writing this post.