Susan Smith, Harker’s library director, traveled to Chicago over the summer for an annual conference sponsored by the national American Library Association (ALA), where a book she contributed to received a special award.
Last year Smith contributed a chapter to the now published book “Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers,” showcasing librarians leading professional learning in the school setting. At the recent ALA conference the book received the prestigious Best Professional Reference award.
Smith called it “very special” to have the book recognized by a committee of her peers as being such a valuable resource for librarians in schools across the country.
According to the book, school librarians are ideally qualified to lead professional development because they service the entire school network, from the students and faculty to families and the community. The “Growing Schools” book is the first such resource to directly address the potential role of the school librarian as a staff developer.
Within the book’s chapters authors like Smith relate their own professional development journeys, collectively representing experience within K-12 public and private institutions, district and regional units, and universities across the United States and Canada.
Smith explained that the 50-page chapter she contributed to was the story of Harker’s ambitious and successful information literacy program which originated under former library director Enid Davis back in 2006. Since then, Harker has become recognized as having one of the premier library-directed information literacy programs in North America.
“I learned a tremendous amount from the other contributors, some of whom co-led a half-day professional development workshop with me at the ALA pre-conference in 2012,” recalled Smith.
This year’s ALA conference, which ran from June 27 to July 2, was the 137th annual event for the library association. The theme of the event – which carried an impressive lineup of guest speakers, including Khaled Hosseini, Ann Patchett, Oliver Stone, Alice Walker and Octavia Spencer – was “Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves.”