Pennsylvania Avenue School named National School Library Program of the Year

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/21/2013

Contact:

Jennifer Habley
Manager, Web Communications
AASL
312-280-4383
jhabley@ala.org

CHICAGO — Pennsylvania Avenue School, located in Atlantic City, N.J., 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 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.

 “Our school library program is by far a model program that ignites learning from the moment you step through the doors,” writes Principal Sylvia Stewart in her letter of support. “Through the collaboration with administration, teachers, parents and students, our library program is not a confined space to house books, but an environment that is globally interactive, safe, flexible, and innovative in every way. Together, we worked to build an exemplary school library program that showcases 21st century learning.”

The students at Pennsylvania Avenue School have a nickname for their school librarian Jennifer Jamison — they call her “Mama Media.” Jamison fulfills this role by managing and supporting two unique collections within the building. The first is a rich print, audio and digital collection and the second are classroom sets of books for primary and intermediate literacy instruction. The main library collection satisfies diverse learning styles and needs by including e-readers with downloadable books on demand, iPads, DVDs, audiobooks, print and e-book collections and print and digital reference collections.

The school library program also provides state of the art digital technologies for students to learn and use. Supported by school building administration, students are permitted to leave recess and visit the library to read, explore gaming, complete assignments, engage through social media, create videos and explore various presentation tools to highlight their learning. One of the best results Jamison sees is that students are eager to get online, chat and blog about projects, discuss the “maker space” activities and promote reading material through recommendations, thus improving their communication skills on a global level.

“Jennifer has made the library a place where students want to be whenever they have a spare moment,” said Katherine Lowe, award committee chair. “She is remarkable in her passion and tirelessness and has the broad support of her colleagues. Her advisory committee has become the desirable ‘club' of educators interested in being on the front line of change and growth. Jennifer is a model of the role of the school librarian and what a school library program should be.”

"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.”

Pennsylvania Avenue 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.