For immediate release | April 13, 2020

Jillian Ehlers receives AASL Collaborative School Library Award

CHICAGO – Jillian Ehlers, school librarian at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Forest Hills, New York, is the recipient of the 2020 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award. Sponsored by Scholastic Book Fairs, the $2,500 award recognizes school librarian and teacher collaboration during the development and implementation of a curriculum-supporting program using school library resources.

“The Collaborative School Library Award recognizes and celebrates the leadership demonstrated by Jillian Ehlers through the project Great Power, Great Responsibility: The Zine Project,” said Mary Keeling, AASL President. “This project was built on two years of reflective collaborative partnership with classroom educators. Students determined the focus of the project, a well-rounded expression of all six of the AASL Standards’ Shared Foundations. Congratulations to Jillian, and many thanks to Jennifer Powell and her committee for their careful consideration of applications.”

The zine project was a collaboration between Ehlers and 9th-grade educators Erin Hickey, English, and Rachel Demalderis, special education. Using changemaker Malala Yousafzai as inspiration, students were asked to research an issue impacting their community and propose a solution to solve the issue. The issue that students chose to research became the focus of their Day of Service project. Through a series of library lessons, students learned how to write and create a zine, which shared what they learned about enacting change. During a gallery walk in the school library, students shared their zines and their learning experiences from the Day of Service.

“There were many high-caliber applications submitted this year, but The Zine Project went above and beyond,” said Jennifer Powell, award committee chair. “It was evident that there was collaboration across the entire grade level in the planning, implementation, teaching, and sharing of this project, involving grade-level content teachers, the school librarian, the public library, and local community centers. This learning experience not only incorporated all of the AASL learner standards but also had an impact on the world outside of their classroom. The Great Power Great Responsibility project is a true model for what the Collaborative School Library Award is all about.”

The AASL award winners will be honored during a virtual AASL Awards Ceremony during the fall of 2020. The virtual ceremony will replace the live ceremony traditionally presented during the ALA Annual Conference. Out of concern for the health and safety of all members of the community, the ALA Executive Board felt it was important to cancel the 2020 conference taking place in Chicago. Details for the virtual ceremony will be shared as they are finalized.

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)