Nation’s top school libraries shatter traditional stereotypes

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/14/2011


Jennifer Habley

AASL to Showcase Tech-Friendly Libraries at New Orleans Conference, June 27

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA),  will present three of the nation’s leading school library programs with the 2011 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award at ALA’s Annual Conference Monday, June 27 in New Orleans.  Seeking to shed outdated stereotypes as shushers, shelvers and book checkers, AASL is recognizing school librarians who are moving online and going high-tech to prepare students for college and career. 

The NSLPY Award spotlights school libraries that are re-inventing their 21st century roles in the face of school budgets cuts and layoffs.  As key players in the digital shift in the classroom, librarians of today work with teachers on innovative lesson plans to train students in real-world skills of digital databases, online project-sharing, 24-hour chat forums and virtual meetings, Google Docs, smart boards,blogs, vimeo and audio/visual media. Award-winning librarians are expanding student access to online research and multi-media tools and providing high-tech training in logic, problem-solving, literature and geometry.  One recent study called the school librarian the “go-to” person to identify websites for classroom use (78 percent), create collections of resources for curriculum support (56 percent) and to find specific digital content, podcasts and videos to support classroom lessons (47 percent).  (Source: Speak up 2010 Educators Report, Project Tomorrow/ May 11, 2011/

NSLPY Award winners are leading their profession in adopting the latest technological tools in collaboration with teachers and students to promote creativity, self-reliance and self-directed learning in schools. Each winning program receives a $10,000 prize ($30,000 total) donated by Follett Library Resources. (  Recipients of the 2011 NSLPYAward include:

Henrico County Public Schools, Henrico County, Va. (69 schools with approximately 49,000 students, 82 full-time librarians).   In collaborative partnerships, librarians and teachers merge content and technology through the Henrico21 initiative.  Librarians integrate curriculum and dynamic interactive technology to teach self-sufficiency. Henrico librarians incorporate nightly online discussion forums, online databases, Boolean searches, online mind-mapping applications and a choice of Web 2.0 applications such as text-to-voice animations and electronic pop-up books for student generated products that are based on higher level thinking and inquiry.

North East Independent School District, San Antonio, Texas. (68 schools with 66,220 students, 70 full-time librarians). Teachers and librarians integrate the latest tools and technologies to create life-long learners and promote good digital citizenship. Students incorporate podcasts, slideshows and videos and share work through online posts or library blogs.  Librarians demonstrate databases and other materials available 24/7 to students and their families and develop online professional development courses to instruct teachers on the ethical use of information.  Plans are underway to create an online repository where student-created book reviews and promotional videos can be accessed online across all school libraries.

Pine Grove Middle School, East Syracuse, N.Y. Middle school students receive Blue Passes to the library to work on job and interpersonal skills. In its mission to “prepare students for the 21st-Century” administrators  sign up for daily text message updates about library events, which includes text and a video summary of the month’s highlights.  Lunchtime student “geek squads” support peer’s technology needs.

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), 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.