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West Maple Elementary Receives National School Library Award

LANSING – The winner of the state’s model school library award in 2021-2022 has just received the 2023 National School Library of the Year Award, according to the Library of Michigan.

West Maple Elementary, part of Birmingham Public Schools, has been named the 2023 National School Library of the Year by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

“The school library at West Maple Elementary continues to elevate the bar as it contributes to both the academic and life-long success of the West Maple students,” said Michigan’s State Librarian Randy Riley. “School libraries contribute to a long-term, cumulative effect of improving student achievement. The students at West Maple will continuously reap future rewards through the combined impact of their teachers and librarians.”

The West Maple Elementary School library earned the state’s 21st Century Model School Library (SL 21) award for the 2021-2022 school year.

This national school library award marks just the third time since the award was established in 1963 that a Michigan school district has earned the prestigious honor, which recognizes school libraries as a unique and essential part of the school learning community. Swan Valley High School (2013) and West Bloomfield Schools (1988) are the only other Michigan school organizations to win.

“This is outstanding news to be named a national school winner,” Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Embekka Roberson said. “We are so proud of the tremendous work, time and effort that the administration and staff at West Maple put forward to earn this amazing recognition. Principal Jason Pesamoska and resident librarian Carrie Betts, along with countless others, are innovators who are always striving for greatness for our students and community, daily – this honor exemplifies it.”

“The West Maple Elementary school library is a place where students and members of the community have opportunities to extend their learning beyond the walls of the school, beyond the community, to the diversity of the state, nation, and world, and that is a model for every school library,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.

West Maple will receive $10,000 as a monetary prize. The process included an extension application, a digital library portfolio, virtual interviews, and an in-person visit by the committee chairpersons.

School libraries chosen for this national award must demonstrate effective instruction that is in alignment with the AASL’s national school library standards:

  • Inquire - Build new knowledge by inquiring, thinking critically, identifying programs and developing strategies for solving problems.
  • Include – Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to inclusivity and diversity in the learning community.
  • Collaborate – Work effectively with others to broaden perspectives and work toward common goals.
  • Curate – Make meaning for oneself and others by collecting, organizing and sharing resources of personal relevance.
  • Explore – Discover and innovate in a growth mindset developed through experience and reflection.
  • Engage – Demonstrate safe, legal and ethical creating and sharing of knowledge products independently while engaging in a community of practice and an interconnected world.
West Maple will be formally recognized at the AASL national conference in October.