CHICAGO — Amy Jo Southworth, school librarian at Bay Shore High School in Sayville, N.Y., is the 2013 recipient of the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Frances Henne Award. Established in 1986, the $1,250 award, sponsored by ABC-CLIO, recognizes a school librarian with five years or less experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers and administrators. As the award recipient, Southworth] has the opportunity to attend her first AASL National Conference.
After working several years as an English teacher, Southworth earned her masters in library science from Queens College – City University of New York and became Bay Shore’s school librarian in 2009. At the beginning of each year, Southworth holds an interactive library orientation focused on information literacy and reading motivation. This training includes special education and ESL students, two groups that previously had no library presence. She has also expanded the library’s collection by including materials and resources that are designed specifically to meet all users’ needs and encourage multi-use participation in the library.
Southworth also oversees a thriving community of readers through the library’s VIP Club. VIP member perks include more books per checkout and the ability to check out reference books. VIP members participate in an online social learning network where ideas are shared and contests posted and members participate in book chats. At the end of the year, a party is held for members, and each brings a guest – also known as a potential new reader and VIP member.
Southworth also serves in several leadership roles in and out of the high school. She was selected by her principal to be the building representative for both their Common Core State Standards literacy training and on the newly formed district technology committee. She is active in her state school library association and is currently president of her regional association, the Suffolk School Library Media Association. She is also a member of the 2013 class of American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders and was sponsored for this position by AASL.
In her application, Southworth writes, “I strive for excellence; that is why it is vital for me to attend the AASL conference. Attending the AASL national conference will benefit me personally and professionally. It will secure my place as a decision-maker, versed in the latest topics and pedagogy affecting our field. I value our profession and strive to see it forward.”
Southworth and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The luncheon will be held Monday, July 1. Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/annual.
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.