AASL Announces Inaugural Toor Scholarship Recipients

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/06/2023


Allison Cline

Deputy Executive Director




CHICAGO – Eight school librarians from across the country have been awarded an American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Toor Scholarship for Strong Public-School Libraries. The Toor Family, in honor of their parents, Jay and Ruth Toor, established the Toor Scholarships for Strong Public-School Libraries.  The scholarships are awarded to public school librarians who have created and implemented a local public awareness/marketing campaign that promotes and positions their school library as a necessary resource in the community.

“We could not have asked for a better inaugural class of Toor Scholarship recipients,” said Hilda Weisburg, award committee chair. “These projects will have a lasting impact and reinforce the reach of the school library, with a certified school librarian, to all of those inside and outside the walls of a school.  Most importantly these exciting projects offer easily replicable pieces for all school librarians to implement.”

The 2023 recipients include:

  • Karen Bentall, School Librarian, Oakridge Elementary School, Arlington, Virginia
  • Harry Brake, Library Media Specialist, Woodbridge High School, Greenwood, Delaware
  • Molly Dettmann, Teacher Librarian, Norman North High School, Norman, Oklahoma
  • Sheila Michaels, Library Media Specialist, Nixa Public Schools, Nixa, Missouri
  • Martha Pangburn, Teacher Librarian, Norman Public Schools, Norman, Oklahoma
  • Danielle Schwessinger, Media Specialist, Elmer Wolfe Elementary, Union Bridge, Maryland
  • Laura Silver, School Library Media Specialist, PS 90: The Magnet School for Environmental Studies and Community Wellness, Brooklyn, New York
  • Kristin Thrower, Head School Librarian, Meadowbrook High School, North Chesterfield, Virginia

The Toor Scholarship for Strong Public-School Libraries provides a $1,000 scholarship to cover travel to attend the biennial AASL National Conference.  Recipients will participate in a concurrent session panel to present their local public awareness/marketing campaign. Additional promotion of campaigns will include opportunities to publish articles and host webinars on AASL’s various platforms. More information is available on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/awards.

Kathy Lester, AASL president, said, “As school librarians we so often don’t see that what we do every day, how we serve our learners, our colleagues, and our communities, is advocacy.  Someone can’t miss what they never had and so it’s vital for the role of the school library and certified school librarian to be continually seen and reinforced.  I want to thank the Toor Family for these scholarships that highlight the work of my colleagues and offer endless opportunities for their peers to use and build from their work.”

Weisburg also wanted to “appreciate the support from the Toor Family for these scholarships and recognizing their lasting impact to continue to reinforce AASL’s vision which aligns perfectly to the work of her friend and colleague Ruth Toor that Every school librarian is a leader; every learner has a school librarian.”

The AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2023 AASL National Conference taking place October 19-21 in Tampa, Florida. Visit national.aasl.org for more information.

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