Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming

About the Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming
The purpose of the Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award is to recognize, promote and support excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle school libraries that serve children K-8. To promote and encourage other school libraries interested in developing outstanding humanities programs, a professional development/training opportunity will be presented by the ALA Public Programs Office, in consultation with the Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee and the American Association of School Librarians.

 Sara Jaffarian, a retired school librarian, has been a member of ALA for 63 years. She began her career as a librarian in the public school system of Quincy, Massachusetts. She later served as the Director of Libraries for the Greensboro Public Schools in North Carolina and the Supervisor of Libraries for the Seattle Public Schools in Washington. In 1961, she returned to her home state to design and develop a school library program in Lexington, Massachusetts, where she became the Coordinator of Instructional Materials and Services.

Ms. Jaffarian received her undergraduate degree in social studies at Bates University and her library science degree at Simmons College. She also holds a master’s of education from Boston University.

Sara Jaffarian has a long history of leadership in the library profession. She held numerous offices and committee appointments, including ALA Councilor, board member and recording secretary of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), member of the Newbery-Caldecott Awards Committee, and president of the Massachusetts Association of School Librarians. Under her leadership, an Encyclopedia Britannica School Library Award was given to the Lexington Public Schools in 1964.

“Throughout my career, I worked in many capacities to promote the idea that every school needs a library,” said Ms. Jaffarian. “In order to have an excellent school, there must be an excellent school library! To achieve this, more is needed than just books and other materials—curriculum-related programming has the power to take a school library to the next level, exciting students, bringing in parents, and getting the attention of administrators and community leaders. I’m delighted to establish an award that will not only recognize excellence in this arena, but also provide training for school librarians across the country.”


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2014 Winner(s)

Perry Meridian Middle School

Indianapolis, Indiana

Over the course of one semester, librarians assisted five eighth-grade classes and nearly 500 in researching their family histories online and in historical newspapers on microfilm.  The students visited the Indiana State Library and the Indiana Historical Society, learning from historians and preservationists how to interpret historical photos and preserve family documents.  Students also interviewed family members and caregivers to learn more of their family history, developing valuable memories as well as in-depth learning skills.  The R.O.A.D. I Travel project culminated in each student's creation of a personal research goal and plan, with an independently developed personal family research project presented at a community project fair.  More information on the R.O.A.D. I Travel program is located here