For immediate release | April 19, 2011

Exemplary teacher-school librarian collaboration wins AASL award

CHICAGO – The “Medieval Narrative Project,” planned and presented by the school librarians and freshman/sophomore Social Studies team at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Ill., is the 2011 recipient of the American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award.

"The award committee selected Deerfield High School to receive this award based on the levels of cooperative and shared responsibilities between faculty members as described in their application,” said Leslie Forsman, committee chair. The usage of both print and non-print resources, and the correlations of activities with the "Empowering Learners" standards were presented well. The committee also appreciated the fact that these personnel had shared their activities with their local co-workers and also with colleagues at the state and national levels."

School librarians Lucy Kempton, Laurie Williams and Marisa Fiorito worked with social studies teachers Nikoletta Antonakos, Hilary Quagliana, Helen Crowley, John McDonald, Brett Schwartz, Richard Grady and Lisa Allen to develop a comprehensive information literacy plan that combined content and skill instruction with meaningful student experiences. Asking students to transport themselves back to the Medieval period and develop a first-person narrative through the eyes of a historical figure, this yearlong project taught students to develop a research plan, understand the difference between information formats and accurately cite sources used in their research.

Their students agree – it was a success. “Due to my experience with the Medieval Narrative, my research skills have improved tenfold,” read a letter of support from a student. “I am better at getting information from both books and websites, finding the right sources, then knowing what to look for in the source. I am a lot better at finding whether or not a piece of information is useful or useless.”

The “Medieval Narrative Project” team and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. The luncheon will be held Monday, June 27, and Lauren Myracle, best-selling young adult author and national spokesperson for intellectual freedom, will headline. Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at

Sponsored by Highsmith, the $2,500 award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school librarians and teachers in meeting goals outlined in "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" through joint planning of a program, unit or event in support of the curriculum and using school library resources.

The American Association of School Librarians,, 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.


Jennifer Habley