AASL Announces 2020 Award Recipients

AASL has announced the recipients of its 2020 awards. AASL awards and grants recognize excellence and showcase best practices in the school library field in categories that include collaboration, leadership, and innovation. Recipients of this prestigious program are celebrated for their outstanding talent and dedication to the profession.

  • ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant
    Awarded to: Maryland Association of School Librarians
    Sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the up to $1,750 grant is awarded to school library associations that are AASL Chapters for planning and implementing leadership programs at the state, regional, or local levels.
  • Chapter of the Year Award
    Awarded to: Tennessee Association of School Librarians
    Sponsored by AASL, the $1,000 stipend recognizes the AASL Chapter most active and dynamic in achieving the goals of AASL at the state and local level.
  • Collaborative School Library Award
    Awarded to: Jillian Ehlers, Erin Hickey, and Rachel Demalderis, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, Forest Hills, NY
    Sponsored by Scholastic Book Fairs, the $2,500 award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school librarians and teachers in meeting goals outlined in AASL’s National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries through joint planning of a program, unit, or event in support of the curriculum and using school library resources.
  • Distinguished School Administrator Award
    Awarded to: Dr. Kevin Smith, Superintendent of Wilton Public Schools, CT
    Sponsored by ProQuest, the $2,000 award is presented to a school administrator who has made worthy contributions to the operations of an exemplary school library and to advancing the role of the school library in the educational program.
  • Distinguished Service Award
    Awarded to: Mona Kerby
    Sponsored by The Rosen Publishing Group, the $3,000 award recognizes an individual member of the library profession who has, over a significant period of time, made an outstanding national contribution to school librarianship and school library development.
  • Frances Henne Award
    Awarded to: Andrea Trudeau, school librarian, Alan B. Shepard Middle School, Deerfield, IL
    Sponsored by Libraries Unlimited, the $1,250 award enables a school librarian with five or fewer years who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers, and administrators to attend an ALA Annual Conference or AASL National Conference for the first time.
  • Innovative Reading Grant
    Awarded to: Stefanie Throndson, district librarian, New Hampton Elementary, New Hampton, IA
    Sponsored by Capstone, the $2,500 award supports the planning and implementation of a unique and innovative program for children that motivates and encourages reading, especially with struggling readers.
  • Inspire Collection Development Grants
    Awarded to: Denise Gadson, Woodland High School, Dorchester, SC; Pamela Hubert, Brooks County High School, Quitman, GA; Samantha Kennedy, Dunedin High School, Dunedin, FL; Ali Lauer, Griffith STEAM Magnet Middle School, Los Angeles, CA; Brittany Tignor, Snow Hill High School, Snow Hill, MD
    Sponsored by Marina “Marney” Welmers, the grant assists an existing public middle or high school can extend, update, and diversify the book, online, subscription and/or software collections in their library in order to realize sustainable improvement in student achievement at their school. The fund is $20,000 per year. The direct assistance grant shall be capped at $5,000.
  • Inspire Special Event Grants
    Awarded to: Cameron Carey, Baldwin-Woodville High School, Baldwin, WI; Amy Gammon, Greenport Elementary School, Greenport, NY; Kristina Graves, Schenectady High School, Schenectady, NY; Tatanisha Love, Loch Raven Technical Academy, Towson, MD; Wamecca Rodriguez, Yorkville Middle School, Yorkville, IL; Shawna Ward, Lindbergh High School, St. Louis, MO
    Sponsored by Marina “Marney” Welmers, the grant supports a special event so that an existing public middle or high school library can create new or enhance its extracurricular activities in order to increase student academic achievement at their school. The fund is $10,000 per annum. The direct assistance is capped at $2,000 per grant.
  • Intellectual Freedom Award
    Awarded to: Martha Hickson, North Hunterdon High School, Annandale, NJ, and Donna Morris, Daniel Boone Elementary, Richmond, KY
    Sponsored by ProQuest, the award is given to a school librarian for upholding the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth by AASL and ALA.
  • Past-Presidents Planning Grant for National School Library Standards
    Awarded to: Association of Indiana School Library Educators (in honor of Carl A. Harvey II, sponsored by Roger and Susan D. Ballard), Vermont School Library Association (in honor of Gail Dickinson, sponsored by Roger and Susan D. Ballard), Missouri Association of School Librarians (in honor of Retta Patrick, sponsored by Cassandra Barnett), Wyoming Library Association School Library Interest Group (in honor of Sharon Coatney, sponsored by Edward M. and Helen R. Adams)
    Sponsored by AASL, the $2,500 grants, awarded in honor of AASL past presidents, are presented annually to AASL Chapters for the planning and execution of an event, initiative, or activity focused on the implementation of AASL’s National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries.
  • Research Grants
    Awarded to: “School and Public Library Collaboration: A Phenomenology of Working Together” by Jenna Kammer and Denise Moreland; “Rethinking Curation in School Libraries and School Library Education: Critical, Conceptual, Collaborative” by Jenna Spiering and Kate Lechtenberg, and “Application of the Teacher Citizenship Behavior (TCB) Theory to the Extra-Role Work of School Librarians” by Karen Reed
    Sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the grants recognize excellence in manuscripts addressing a persistent and recurring challenge in the field of school librarianship. Each grant consists of a $350 award and the opportunity to present the paper at the 2021 AASL National Conference.
  • Roald Dahl’s Miss Honey Social Justice Award
    Awarded to: Cassy Lee, Alice Woodman-Russell, and Jack Crow, Chinese American International School, San Francisco, CA
    Sponsored by Penguin Random House, the award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school librarians and teachers in teaching social justice through joint planning of a program, unit or event in support of social justice using school library resources. The award includes $2,000 to the librarian, up to $1,000 in reimbursement towards travel and housing to attend the AASL awards presentation at the ALA Annual Conference, and a $5,000 book donation by Penguin Random House.
  • The Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries
    Awarded to: Kristen Anderson, Kingsley Elementary School, Evanston, IL
    Sponsored by Jay Toor, the award provides funding support on a competitive basis to public school libraries for the creation and implementation of a local public awareness/marketing campaign that promotes and positions their school library as a necessary resource in the community. The grant includes $3,000 to create and implement a project, and $2,000 for both the school librarian and school official to attend the AASL national conference or the ALA Annual Conference.

The recipient of the National School Library Award will be announced in the fall of 2020. Stay tuned to the KQ website for the announcement.

The AASL award winners will be honored during a virtual AASL Awards Ceremony during the fall of 2020. The virtual ceremony will replace the live ceremony traditionally presented during the ALA Annual Conference. Out of concern for the health and safety of all members of the community, the ALA Executive Board felt it was important to cancel the 2020 conference taking place in Chicago. Details for the virtual ceremony will be shared as they are finalized.



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