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National School Library of the Year: 2023

West Maple Elementary has been named the 2023 National School Library of the Year by the American Association of School Librarians.

It 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 their respective 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,” BPS Superintendent Dr. Embekka Roberson said. “We are so proud of the tremendous work, time and effort 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.”

West Maple will also 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.

“We are privileged and blessed to live and learn in a community that values the crucial role our library has in our student’s educational experience,” Pesamoska said. “Our school community shares in this celebration alongside our students, staff and families.”

School libraries chosen 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 organization’s conference in October. In 2022, the BPS elementary library was named a Model 21st Century School Library by the State of Michigan.

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