Diana Rendina transforms school library and receives AASL Frances Henne Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/12/2015


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO – Diana Rendina, school librarian at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Tampa, Florida, is the recipient of the 2015 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Frances Henne Award. Sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the $1,250 award recognizes a school librarian with five years or less experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers and administrators, to attend an AASL conference or ALA Annual Conference for the first time.

Rendina has been the school librarian at Stewart Middle since 2010. During that time she has transformed the school library from a “dusty, cluttered and quiet” space into a dynamic learning zone. Students can build arcade games out of cardboard, program self-designed remote controlled cars, create coral reefs out of LEGOs and celebrate books through Battle of the Books trivia competitions. She drastically overhauled the collection, weeding through books not checked out since 1984 and added a graphic novel and manga section. In 2014, she hosted the school’s first author visit and created their first library Makerspace. Rendina’s efforts have created an environment where students now come to check out a new book every day.

Over the past few years, Rendina has cultivated strong digital connections with other school librarians, but also values the essential learning and sharing opportunities that can only come through face-to-face interactions. She plans to use her ALA or AASL conference attendance as a way to strength these connections and continue to grow as a leader in the school library field.

Frances Henne Award committee member Carolyn Vibbert said, "Diana's application stood out for her commitment to her students, who are now passionate library users. She recognized challenges in her inherited library and took steps to reinvigorate the collection not just through weeding, but by empowering her students as readers. She also responded to her school's STEM initiative and determined a course of actions that would make the library equally as committed to the school's mission.”

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