Sheikla Blount, library media specialist at Columbiana Middle School, has been named a winner of this year’s national I Love My Librarian Award. Blount is being recognized for her leadership in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. She is one of only 10 librarians in the country this year to receive this honor.
Blount was commended for turning the school library into a welcoming and inclusive place for students to learn and grow. Blount expanded the library’s hours to accommodate students’ schedules. Through the library, she makes available for checkout e-readers, tablets and other technology resources to students who may not have access to such tools at home.
Blount is a role model for all students. She values the importance of diversity and equity, ensuring books focused on diversity and equity are included in the library and in book selections chosen by teachers.
Blount also helps develop programs and sponsors events that engage the student body. She established the “Read More, Read Better” campaign, which offers students incentives for reading by earning points to use for prizes in a silent auction. She also hosts special speakers in the library to help students relate to class research projects about such topics as the Vietnam War.
Blount will receive a $5,000 prize at an award ceremony and reception to be held November 30 in New York City. The ceremony is hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York, which co-sponsors the award along with The New York Public Library and The New York Times. The American Library Association administers the award through its Public Awareness Office, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians.
As part of the award process, library users are invited to nominate librarians working in public, school, college, community college and university libraries. This year 1,125 nominations were submitted by library users nationwide detailing how their favorite librarians have gone above and beyond to improve community members’ lives.
In the United States, there are 190,000 librarians working in libraries of all types, and only 100 librarians have been selected for this distinguished honor since the award’s inception in 2008.
This year’s award recipients include three academic librarians, four public librarians, and three school librarians. A complete list of award recipients can be found at ilovelibraries.org/ilovemylibrarian.