CHICAGO — New Augusta South Elementary School, located in Indianapolis, is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) 2013 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient. Sponsored by Follett Library Resources, the NSLPY annually recognizes up to three 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 receives an obelisk – the symbol of school library excellence – $10,000 toward its school library program.
New Augusta South Elementary School, part of the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township, serves 531 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. Pike Township is a residential urban community on the northwest corner of Indianapolis. The district is committed to “…using research-based teaching and learning practices that actively engage students, promoting collaboration among staff, students, parents, and community patrons, and preparing students to live and learn in an ever-changing technological and global society.”
At New Augusta, the school library program and Lauren Kniola, the school librarian, help to fulfill this mission. In the letter of support from Principal Mary Kay Hunt, she writes, “Under the leadership of Mrs. Lauren Kniola the library program flourishes. She prepares our students to become outstanding members of a global society. She works side by side with the classroom teachers to help the students learn in multiple ways: inquiry based projects, distance learning, in addition to help the students develop a love of reading. Mrs. Kniola has built a learning environment that is stimulating, student centered, and a flexible schedule so that our library can enhance their learning and be the hub of learning.”
“The committee was impressed that both teachers and administrators referred to New Augusta’s library program as the hub of the school and they see Lauren as the spoke that connects everything together,” said Katherine Lowe, award committee chair. “Her colleagues see Lauren as a ‘real leader’ and her program was cited as the ideal of what a school library program should look like. The fact that students, family, and administrators were willing to come in on a day that school was closed due to an ice storm to visit with the award committee demonstrates how embedded the library is in every aspect of school life.”
"On behalf of the organization, I applaud the recipients of this year’s National School Library Program of the Year,” said Susan Ballard, AASL president. “I congratulate them, and the learning communities they serve, on their commitment to develop and maintain an exemplary program that is a true embodiment of the AASL learning standards and program guidelines. As exemplars of best practice they help us to focus attention on the value and importance of effective school library programs in promoting student achievement. I would also like to thank Follett Library Resources for their ongoing support of this award and their unwavering belief that quality school libraries make a difference.”
New Augusta South Elementary School and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Author, illustrator and school library advocate Jarrett Krosoczka will speak during the luncheon 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.