Baltimore County Public Schools, serving all public schools in Baltimore County, Md., is the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) 2017 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient. Sponsored by Follett, the NSLPY Award annually recognizes a single school or district-wide school library program that meets the needs of the changing school and library environment and is fully integrated into the school’s curriculum. The recipient receives an obelisk – the symbol of school library excellence – and $10,000 toward its school library program.
“In Baltimore County Public Schools, the dynamic school library program is embedded in the culture of the district,” said Eileen Kern, awards committee chair. “While talking to administrators, teachers, parents, and community partners, the committee members consistently heard about the importance of the school librarian within the school and the district.”
Baltimore County Public Schools’ (BCPS) vision is to produce graduates who have the content knowledge, skills and attitudes to reach their full potential as responsible, productive citizens. The system is the third largest school district in the state of Maryland and the 25th largest in the United States. It serves more than 112,00 students in 173 schools, programs and centers.
“Regardless of the physical structure of the library or the age of the school building, the libraries provide an inviting learning environment for students to explore, think, collaborate and create,” explains Kern. “Talk to the students in Baltimore County Public Schools and you will hear about the wonderful and exciting things happening in their libraries. Students in this district value the school library and school librarian.”
“Over the past several years, the district has made significant strides in rebranding the role of the school librarian,” said Fran Glick, coordinator in BCPS’s office of digital learning. “The transformation of teaching and learning toward customized and personalized student learning is equally evident in our school libraries. Our school system’s philosophy regarding school libraries—and their place at the heart of student learning—is affirmed by a staffing model which ensures that all schools are staffed by a full-time certified school librarian. We are so grateful for the support of Superintendent Dance as our champion of the school library program.”
“On behalf of AASL, I congratulate Baltimore County Public Schools, the 2017 recipient of the AASL’s prestigious National School Library Program of the Year Award,” said AASL President Audrey Church. “From district level leadership to administrative support to strong building level school librarians, their emphasis is on providing effective school library programs that focus on student learning. Through access to quality resources, instruction in digital literacy, collaboration between librarians and classroom teachers, promotion of books and reading, and connection to community, Baltimore County school libraries are vibrant spaces where learning is transformed. I commend them for their excellent work.”
“Baltimore County Public Schools is honored to be recognized for our work to leverage highly effective school librarians as part of our system-wide teaching and learning transformation,” said Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance. “Either through collaborating with other educators or working directly with students, our school librarians help students gain in-demand 21st-century skills including constructing meaning through research, problem solving, creativity, and communicating new knowledge. Our school library programs ensure equitable access to an effective, learner-centered digital learning environment.”
The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.
Photos courtesy of Baltimore County Public Schools
Author: Jen Habley
Jen Habley is the AASL Manger of Web Communications. She manages the AASL websites, writes press releases, coordinates AASL’s online learning opportunities, and oversees AASL’s web 2.0 tools. When not working, Jen spends time researching her family tree, reading, and watching hockey.