AASL Announces 2021 Award and Grant Winners

AASL has announced the recipients of its 2021 awards and grants. 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.

  • AASL Chapter of the Year Award
    Awarded to: Maryland Association of School Librarians
    Sponsored by AASL, the $1,000 award recognizes the AASL Chapter most active and dynamic in achieving the goals of AASL at the state and local level.
  • ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant
    Awarded to: Oklahoma School Librarians, a division of the Oklahoma Library Association
    Sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the $1,750 grant is awarded to an AASL Chapter for planning and implementing leadership programs at the state, regional, or local level.
  • BTSB First-Time Attendee AASL National Conference Travel Grants
    Awarded to: Patrick Adams, Early Learning Center South/Keller ISD, Fort Worth, Texas; Elizabeth Barbour, Oswego City School District, Liverpool, New York; Kristen Brennan, Gideon Welles School/Glastonbury Public Schools, Newington, Connecticut; Rebecca Caufman, Radford City Public Schools, Blacksburg, Virginia; Kelly Delaney, Maitland Middle School (OCPS), Orlando, Florida; Annie DiPietro, Swallow School District, Sussex, Wisconsin; Kari Edgens, East Nashville Magnet Middle School, Nashville, Tennessee; Ingrid Eliasson, Lammersville Unified School District, Mountain House, California; Emily Golightly, Newport Elementary School, Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina; Emily Hersh, Navarro Early College High School, Austin, Texas; Julie Hewitt, Plateau Valley School District 50, Collbran, Colorado; Faith Johnston, Holy Ghost Catholic School, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kelsey Klug, McClure Middle School/Seattle Public Schools, Seattle, Washington; Hannah Luce, MSAD #59, Norridgewock, Maine; Latasha McKinney, Emerson North Alternative High School, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Anna Musselman, Dorchester District 2 Schools, Summerville, South Carolina; Marti Parker, Suwanee Elementary School, Suwanee, Georgia; Wenndy Pray, Sharyland Independent School District, McAllen, Texas; Karina Quilantan, Jaime Escalante Middle School/Pharr San Juan Alamo ISD, McAllen, Texas; Melody Riggs, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, Ohio; Laurie Ann Riley, Cambridge Public Schools, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Ashley Sherman, Cobb Schools, Acworth, Georgia; Dawn Shirk, Mineral Springs Middle School, Greensboro, North Carolina; Carolyn Slavin, Reed Elementary/Leander ISD, Austin, Texas; Yahtina Macali Soto, Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies, LaHabra, California; Amanda Turkie, Folsom Cordova Unified School District, Sacramento, California; Brandi Veal, Plumas County Office of Education, Sacramento, California; Glori Vela, Good Elementary, Hurst, Texas; Margie Wells, Orange County Public Schools, Sanford, Florida; Adriana White, South San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, Texas
    Sponsored by Bound to Stay Bound Books, the $22,500 grants are given to first-time attendee school librarians to attend the AASL National Conference.
  • Collaborative School Library Award
    Awarded to: Amanda Hurley and Sarah Zehnder, Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, Kentucky
    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 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. April Grace, Superintendent, Shawnee Public Schools, OK
    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.
  • Frances Henne Award
    Awarded to: Maria Frederick, John Read Middle School, Redding, CT
    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: Karen Snay, South Elementary School in St. Peter, MN
    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 COVID Recovery Grants
    Awarded to (round 1): DeAnna Arnold, Wheeler Attendance Center, Booneville, MS; Rebecca Caufman, Radford High School, Radford, VA; Ginger Cowart, Natchez High School, Natchez, MS; Marissa Deku, Lewiston High School, Lewiston, ME; Alice Lang, South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, Spartanburg, SC; Marie Southwell, Graphic Arts Campus Library, New York, NY; Emily Wilson, West Port High School, Ocala, FL
    Awarded to (round 2): Cindy Buerkle, Otselic Valley Central School, South Otselic, NY; Taylor Inverarity, Turner Middle School, Kansas City, KS; Amanda Jones, Live Oak Middle School, Denham, LA; Chari Kauffman, North Shore Middle School, Houston, TX
    Sponsored by Marina “Marney” Welmers, the grant assists an existing public middle or high school  who sustained loss in collection due to school library closures during COVID, to both recover their collection but also extend through more online and remote resources to address learner needs made evident during the closures.
  • Inspire Special Event Grants
    Awarded to: Rebecca Caufman, Radford High School, Radford, VA; Matia Edwards, Griffin High School, Griffin, GA; Janet Parrish, Butler Traditional High School, Louisville, KY; Chris Peeler, Heather Ridge School, Frederick, MD; Melissa Raymer, DC Virgo Preparatory Academy, Wilmington, NC
    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.
  • National School Library of the Year Award
    Awarded to: Calvert County Public Schools, Prince Frederick, MD
    Sponsored by Follett, the award recognizes school libraries as a unique and essential part of their learning community. NSLY honors school libraries exemplifying implementation of AASL’s National School Library Standards.
  • Research Grant
    Awarded to: Ann Ewbank, Professor and Head, Department of Education, Montana State University, “Place Consciousness: A Narrative Inquiry of the Advocacy Practices of Five Rural/Frontier School Librarians”; Dr. Margaret Merga, researcher and author in libraries and literacy, Edith Cowan University, “Collaborating with Teacher Librarians to Support Adolescents’ Literacy and Literature Learning”; Heather Moorefield-Lang, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, “Factors Influencing Intention to Introduce Accessibility in Makerspace Planning and Implementation”
    Sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the research grant recognizes excellence in manuscripts addressing a persistent and recurring challenge in the field of school librarianship.
  • Roald Dahl’s Miss Honey Social Justice Award
    Awarded to: Jennifer Northrup, Hali House, Kelley Feagin, and Katie Jane Morris, Gwin Elementary School, Hoover, AL
    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 AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2021 AASL National Conference taking place October 21-23 in Salt Lake City, Utah.



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