For immediate release | May 12, 2015

Stephanie Meurer, Jennifer Milstead and Erin Kelley receive AASL Collaborative School Library Award for Holocaust project

CHICAGO – School librarians Stephanie Meurer and Jennifer Milstead, and language arts teacher, Erin Kelley, from Sierra Middle School in Parker, Colorado, are the recipients of the 2015 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award. Sponsored by Upstart, the $2,500 award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school librarians and teachers in meeting goals outlined in “Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs” through joint planning of a program, unit or event in support of the curriculum and using school library resources.

Since 2013, Stephanie Meurer and Jennifer Milstead have worked in collaboration with the 8th-grade language arts teachers at Sierra Middle School to develop the project Investigating the Holocaust: A Collaborative Inquiry. The project began as a way to extend students’ learning of the play “The Diary of Anne Frank” by creating a museum type experience in the school library. Using resources from the National Holocaust Memorial Museum, The Anne Frank Museum, the Shoah Foundation, and the Newseum teachers, librarians, and students curated exhibits of photographs, oral histories, fiction, poetry and video.

Stephanie Meurer said in her application, “As the project grew, a few goals became clear: students should have options about how they learn and reflect on the material, they should share their learning in a visible way, and there should be opportunities for discussion and collaboration. The collaboration has expanded into the 2014-2015 school year with a three-day, librarian-led lesson on ‘The Book Thief.’ Both collaborations have helped to transform the Sierra Middle School library to a vibrant extension of the classroom and a hub of teaching and learning.”

“Upon reading through the applications, the submission from Stephanie Meurer hit the mark in terms of collaboration and creativity,” one reviewer said. "A lot of work went into this project. Great examples and collaboration are found throughout."

"The submissions were all of high quality, but this one really jumped out as an outstanding piece," said committee chair, Beth Kabes. "The project address many standards, and was the top selection from all reviewing members. Congratulations to Stephanie, Jennifer, and Erin for being selected as the winning project!”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. The ceremony will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 27. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event taking place prior to the AASL President’s Program.

The American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)