Pine Grove Librarian Sue Kowalski holds up the crystal obelisk during an assembly where the school received the 2011 National School Library Program of the Year Award.
East Syracuse East Syracuse Minoa’s Pine Grove Middle School recently earned the 2011 National School Library Program of the Year award from the American Association of School Librarians. The award is sponsored by Follett Library Resources and includes $10,000 toward Pine Grove’s school library program.
Pine Grove hosted a celebration of excellence Oct. as representatives from Follett Library Resources flew in from Illinois to present the award at a building-wide assembly. The celebration included band and choral performances as well as student speakers.
The honor recognizes school library programs that meet the needs of the changing school and library environment and are fully integrated into the school's curriculum.
“This is an incredible school,” said Jack Belford, Follett Library Resources’ executive director of sales. He told students that Pine Grove won the award out of 14,753 middle schools in the United States and 84,605 schools overall.
“We were selected to receive this distinguished award because we are continually transforming our program to meet the changing needs of our community,” said Sue Kowalski, Pine Grove librarian. “Because of our efforts, we have integrated the library program into curriculum, literacy, technology and all areas of educating the whole child. While we work hard to diversify our collection of books, resources and programs, we work just as hard to unify our school with a mission for all students to become lifelong learners and users of information.”
Pine Grove Principal Kelly Sajnog said the award underscores the fact that the Pine Grove library program defies the typical library stereotype.
“The library plays a vital role providing students with learning experiences that embrace real world connections, interdisciplinary work and community partnerships,” Sajnog said. “The library thrives due to the overwhelming involvement of our students. Through a variety of activities and opportunities, the library program supports ESM’s vision of preparing graduates to excel in a complex, interconnected, changing world.”
ESM Superintendent Donna DeSiato described Pine Grove Library as “a beacon of light for our students, staff and community—illuminating 21st century learning in an environment that engages and respects all learners.”
“Sue Kowalski's leadership is key to this success!” she said.
Marcia Kelley is school information officer for the East Syracuse-Minoa School District.