For immediate release | September 23, 2013

AASL member Deven Black receives inaugural school librarian Bammy Award

CHICAGO – American Association of School Librarians (AASL) member Deven Black was named the 2013 Bammy Award recipient in the inaugural school librarian category. Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, the Bammy award is a cross-discipline award recognizing the contributions of educators from across the education field. Black was presented with his award by Sylvia Knight Norton, AASL incoming executive director, during a red-carpet event in Washington D.C. on Sept. 21. Jennifer Lagarde and AASL members Shannon Miller, Joyce Valenza and Matthew Winner joined Black as nominees for the award.

“The black tie, red-carpeted event was an elegant celebration of ‘What's Right in American Education,’" said Norton. “To have school librarians included in this field of outstanding educators was an important step in bringing national attention to the significance school library programs play in education. To be able to present the Bammy Award to a school librarian was an incredible honor.”

“It is my hope, and I'm sure I speak for the other four finalists when I say this, that this award will be just the first of a wave of understanding and appreciation for the vital work we do to support student and teacher learning,” said Black after accepting his award. “Being a school librarian is not about the books or the data bases, it is about supporting the inquisitiveness and learning of our school community.”

Black is the teacher-librarian at Castle Hill Middle School in The Bronx, N.Y. He was nominated for the award by a colleague who wrote, “Deven…made a difference by taking over a library that had become moribund, out of date, anachronistic, completely disorganized and with no technology. In two years he turned it into a much more modern, way more up-to-date, fully automated functioning library that circulates 200 books a week. He also is always on a quest to support students in learning in ways aligned to their interests, strengths and talents.”

"I was very surprised,” Black continues. “I was up against some fantastic librarians including two, Shannon Miller and Joyce Valenza, who were tremendous mentors and sources of guidance and information when I suddenly and unexpectedly became a librarian two and a half years ago. I owe any success I have had as a school librarian to the generosity, leadership, mentoring, resources and encouragement shown me by the other school librarians in the New York City school library system, the people in the NYCDOE office of library services, and the many, many school librarians around the country who have taught me so much.”

The Bammy Awards aim to foster cross-discipline recognition of the collective contributions being made to educate children, encourage collaboration in and across the various domains, elevate education and education successes in the public eye, and raise the profile and voices of the many undervalued and unrecognized people who are making a difference in the field. The awards were created in response to the tremendous national pressure on educators and education leaders to improve student outcomes, the impact of high-stakes accountability and the intense scrutiny that today's educators face.

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

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)