West Maple Elementary School has the 21st Century Model School Library for the 2020-2021 School Year

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

June 29, 2021

LANSING - The West Maple Elementary School library, part of Birmingham Public Schools in Oakland County, has earned the state's 21st Century Model School Library (SL 21) award for the 2021-2022 school year, the Library of Michigan (LM) announced today.

"The West Maple Elementary School library is a place where students and members of the community have opportunities to learn beyond their daily experiences, and that is a model for every school library," said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.

The library won the SL 21 honor for its focus on bringing diverse life experiences to the school community as well as outstanding academic support. During the challenges brought about by the pandemic this past year, school librarian Carrie Betts created a virtual read aloud and discussion program, using titles from the MISelf in Books list, to her students and school community groups. MISelf in Books is an annual list from the state school librarians' Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) that promotes quality diverse books for preschool through high school readers.

Rice noted that the support that Model SL 21 libraries provide to their students and schools is aligned with Michigan's Top 10 strategic education plan.

State Librarian Randy Riley said the quality work that Betts and school principal Jason Pesamoska do for their students is an integral element to successful learning.

"Learning is about academics and also about understanding the wider community," Riley said. "The support the school and school library are providing West Maple's students as they learn about experiences outside their local environment are a successful part of that endeavor."

The Model SL 21 program recognizes particularly high-quality school libraries and library media specialists and promotes the development of similar initiatives in other schools. The program is based on the LM's School Library 21st Century benchmarks. The West Maple Elementary School library holds exemplary status in the SL 21 program through January 2023.

West Maple Elementary School library staff are available to consult with school district leaders, school librarians, and educators who want to develop, expand, or cast a new vision for their school library programs. Interested persons may contact Carrie Betts at cbetts@birmingham.k12.mi.us or Karren Reish at reishk@michigan.gov.