Henrico County Public Schools named National School Library Program of the Year

For Immediate Release
Fri, 04/29/2011

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CHICAGO – Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools is an American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) 2011 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient. Sponsored by Follett Library Resources, the NSLPY recognizes school library programs that meet the needs of the changing school and library environment and are fully integrated into the school's curriculum. Each recipient is recognized with a crystal obelisk and  $10,000 for their school library program.

Collaborative partnerships are the key to Henrico's program’s success.  “Parents, central office personnel, school board members, feeder schools, and the business community are constituents that all have a stake in successful students,” read the application submitted by Henrico’s Educational Specialist in Library Services, Ann M. Martin. “Our model is based on an all-inclusive approach, with students and staff at the center of the circle and each succeeding circle encompassing more of our stakeholders.  When a library activity occurs, we include as many stakeholders as possible.”

Inside each of the schools, librarians are considered instructional leaders and serve on leadership, staff development and technology integration teams.  Teacher and librarian collaboration to merge content, technology and the AASL learning standards is encouraged by the school superintendent. A recently launched initiative, Henrico21, is designed to support effective instruction geared toward developing 21st-century learners.  School librarians partnered with instructional technology resource teachers, administrators and other school leaders to develop a rubric that focuses on the goals of student-driven inquiry, research, creativity, sharing and student growth.  “Our school librarians are a critical component of Henrico21,” wrote Dr. Patrick Russo, superintendent of schools. “Together with the staff at each school, school librarians serve as powerful leaders who are responsive to the needs of the learning community.”

“Attention and advocacy are the areas that most represent this school district’s school library program,” explained Betty Marcoux, award committee chair. “Each librarian models his or her best in their school and is seen by other educators as bringing richness to what students and teachers can accomplish while learning.  There is strong modeling among the librarians in this district, with engaging and non-threatening collaboration.  They work together really well.”

Located in Henrico, the district is the sixth largest in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is composed of 69 schools with approximately 49,000 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.  Fulfilling the district library mission to “empower students and staff to become critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information” is a staff composed of 82 full-time librarians, 39 full-time support staff and 34 part-time support staff.

Henrico County Public Schools and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. The luncheon will be held Monday, June 27, and Lauren Myracle, best-selling young adult author and national spokesperson for intellectual freedom, will headline.  Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at http://www.ala.org/aasl/annual

Established in 1963, the NSLPY Award honors school library programs practicing their commitment to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information, as well as exemplifying implementation of AASL’s learning standards and program guidelines. The award recognizes exemplary school library programs that are fully integrated into the school's curriculum. Each winning program receives an obelisk – the symbol of school library excellence – and a $10,000 prize donated by Follett Library Resources. Learn more about each of these school library programs at http://www.ala.org/aasl/awards.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.