Holly Schwarzmann receives AASL Frances Henne Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/19/2019


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO – Holly Schwarzmann, school librarian at Largo Middle School in Largo, Florida, is the recipient of the 2019 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 Schwarzmann to attend an AASL National Conference & Exhibition or ALA Annual Conference for the first time.

"What stood out to the committee was the personal narrative about Holly's experiences," said Klaudia Janek, award committee chair. "Holly has completely re-invigorated a dormant library with a focus on literacy and reading, and also brought in elements of making and fun activities like Breakout EDU." 

When Schwarzmann accepted her position in April of 2018, she was the first certified school librarian to serve the middle school in several years. The school library was rarely accessible to students, and many of the students and staff were unaware the school had a library on campus. Schwarzmann first spent several months weeding and reorganizing the outdated library to create a welcoming environment for learners and educators. She then wrote grants to update the collection and created a library orientation scavenger hunt to introduce students to the revamped space.

"I want our school library to reflect our achievements as an International Baccalaureate Candidate School and become an example to show others the benefits of having a modern school library," Schwarzmann wrote in her application. "Our space can become an integral part of our campus and support the International Baccalaureate program goals. Right now, our school library is a blank canvas, waiting to be transformed into the hub of our school."

"Her willingness to advocate for her library and the profession also impressed the committee," explained Janek. "We need people to come into our profession ready to advocate for school librarians and to share their own experiences so we can all learn from each other. Holly is also already involved in her state and county school library associations. These memberships in local, state, and national professional organizations shows initiative and dedication to becoming increasingly involved in leadership positions."

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. 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.