CHICAGO – Julie Stivers, school librarian at Mt. Vernon Middle School in Raleigh, N.C., is the recipient of the 2017 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Frances Henne Award. Sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the $1,250 award recognizes a school librarian with five years or less experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers and administrators. The award will enable Stivers to attend an AASL National Conference or ALA Annual Conference for the first time.
“In the school environment, I want my library to be an empowering space for students to learn, engage, read, create, write, and simply, be,” wrote Stivers in her application. “I’m only midway through my second year as a school librarian, but I’m energized by what I’ve been able to accomplish so far. I believe inclusive libraries are created by using culturally relevant pedagogy, removing barriers, using a diverse collection and expanding the definition of the library as a safe space.”
Stivers has reason to be energized. In a relatively short time frame, she has updated the Mt. Vernon school library collection to be more diverse, in addition to being more student-interest driven. She changed school policy to expand the library’s hours, formalized a library helper initiative and created a library website with unit-based research pathfinders to facilitate student learning. In addition, Stivers has collaborated with teachers across grade levels to design lessons, utilizing culturally relevant teaching methods such as write-arounds, product choice, and active-learning seminars.
“Each of the committee members gave Julie’s application a perfect score, so it was no question who we were awarding the scholarship to,” said Stephanie Trzeciakiewicz, award committee chair. “We were impressed with her determination to change her students’ negative feelings about school, libraries and reading. Using limited funds and numerous grants, she built her collection to reflect her students’ life experiences and increased circulation by 150% in her first year at her small school! She is a young professional on the rise who will truly benefit by attending our national conference.”
“I’m continually looking for ways to improve my library practice,” adds Stivers. “I love the energy and breakthrough ideas that are shared at conferences. Attending an AASL National Conference would be an amazing opportunity that I would leverage into increased learning, engagement, and services for my students. I would love to learn from my colleagues across the country!”
The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.
The American Association of School Librarians www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.