Mesquite Independent School District named National School Library of the Year

For Immediate Release
Mon, 10/19/2020


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Mesquite Independent School District (MISD), located in Mesquite, Texas, is the recipient of the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) 2020 National School Library of the Year (NSLY) Award. Sponsored by Follett, the NSLY Award annually honors a single school or district-wide school library that exemplifies implementation of AASL's “National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries.” Mesquite Independent School District will receive a crystal obelisk – the symbol of school library excellence – and $10,000 toward its school libraries.

“Our MISD libraries play a critical role in education by connecting with students as individuals, helping them grow as members of a community, and nurturing them to become productive citizens of the world,” wrote Cara Jackson, executive director of instructional technology, in her support letter. “MISD libraries are busy, popular places. In addition to traditional activities such as research and reading, our libraries provide a perfect location for student collaboration, club meetings, extended learning, and even creative thinking and problem solving.”

“Mesquite ISD exemplifies the ideal of a student-driven school library,” said Priscille Dando, award committee chair. “The school library’s three pillars – personalized and self-directed learning, inquiry instruction, and transformative and enriching experiences – were consistently evident across schools and levels. Through this framework school librarians are instructional leaders in passion-based learning, providing scaffolding for English language learners, and focusing on the processes and skills that are outcomes of an authentic inquiry approach.”

MISD encompasses an area of approximately 60 square miles in east Dallas County and serves approximately 38,000 students on 49 campuses. On each campus, the school library is a vital component of the instructional program, and MISD’s mission is to deliver excellence in education for the entire school community. Mesquite school librarians develop educational experiences for students, teachers, administrators, and parents delivered anywhere and everywhere: the school library, the classroom, the computer lab, and online via the school library web page and other online tools.

“The committee was most impressed with the connection between students and their school libraries,” added Dando. “When asked to describe his school library in one word, a high school senior offered ‘acceptance.’ Another student explained how her school librarian ensured that the school library is ‘a safe and brave’ space. Students described school librarians who not only helped them learn research skills and supported their reading, but also taught them how to be better communicators, practice social and leadership skills, and be more independent.”

“I always take great pleasure in recognizing and celebrating the achievements of extraordinary school libraries,” said AASL President Kathy Carroll. “Now more than ever, the importance of strong school libraries and school librarians is critical to our learners. The leadership, collaboration, and innovation on display district-wide is to be commended. It is easy to see their library department is the ‘backbone of the school system’ and their school libraries provides direct and impactful support to all stakeholders. Thank you once again to Follett, whose support continues to allow us to spotlight such impressive examples of our profession.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Virtual Awards Ceremony taking place at 11:00 a.m. Central on Wednesday, October 21. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.

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