Deb Sondall Saetveit receives AASL Frances Henne Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/20/2018


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Deb Sondall Saetveit, school librarian at Westside Middle School in Omaha, Neb., is the recipient of the 2018 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. The award will enable Saetveit to attend an AASL National Conference or ALA Annual Conference for the first time.

While teaching English at the secondary level, Saetveit realized her love of education, literacy, collaboration and research made her well suited for the role of school librarian. She completed her master’s degree in library and information science at the University of Missouri – Columbia in 2016 and was able to transfer to the school librarian position in the same middle school where she had been teaching, as the incumbent school librarian decided to retire. Saetveit now serves approximately 970 seventh- and eighth-grade students at the sole middle school for a mid-sized district in the Omaha metro area.

“As a first-year teacher librarian, Deb Sondall Saetveit has demonstrated a passion for promoting literacy, collaboration, leadership, and instruction,” said Melissa Jacobs, awards committee chair. “She has a clear vision for the library and is slowly developing a strong integrated library program. The Frances Henne Award Committee unanimously agreed that Deb exemplified the type of educator school librarianship needs and hopes attendance at conference will help her thrive and prosper professionally.”

“While promoting literacy and a love of reading are a vital part of my job, the role of school librarian is a complex and multifaceted one that includes extensive collaboration, leadership in curriculum development, and technology integration,” wrote Saetveit in her personal statement. “While I am proud of the initiatives and collaboration I’ve undertaken this first year, I am also invigorated and challenged by the important work that lies ahead. I know ALA and AASL offer countless opportunities and resources that will challenge my thinking, inform my practices, and aid me in meeting the diverse needs of the learners I serve.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. 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.