NY middle school librarian Deven Black has been named the 2013 Bammy Award recipient in the inaugural school librarian category, presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) announced. Sylvia Knight Norton, incoming executive director of AASL, presented the award at the Bammy ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, September 21, 2013. Jennifer Lagarde and AASL members Shannon Miller, Joyce Valenza, and Matthew Winner joined Black as nominees for the award.
“The black tie, red-carpeted event was an elegant celebration of ‘What’s Right in American Education,’” says Norton in AASL’s announcement. “To have school librarians included in this field of outstanding educators was an important step in bringing national attention to the significance school library programs play in education. To be able to present the Bammy Award to a school librarian was an incredible honor.”
Black, also an AASL member, is the teacher librarian at Castle Hill Middle School in the Bronx, NY.
According to AASL’s announcement, Black was nominated by a colleague who wrote, “Deven…made a difference by taking over a library that had become moribund, out of date, anachronistic, completely disorganized and with no technology. In two years he turned it into a much more modern, way more up-to-date, fully automated functioning library that circulates 200 books a week. He also is always on a quest to support students in learning in ways aligned to their interests, strengths and talents.”
Says Black in the announcement, “It is my hope…that this award will be just the first of a wave of understanding and appreciation for the vital work we do to support student and teacher learning. Being a school librarian is not about the books or the data bases, it is about supporting the inquisitiveness and learning of our school community.” Black was surprised by the award, he notes.
“I was up against some fantastic librarians including two, Shannon Miller and Joyce Valenza, who were tremendous mentors and sources of guidance and information when I suddenly and unexpectedly became a librarian two and a half years ago,” Black says.
“I owe any success I have had as a school librarian to the generosity, leadership, mentoring, resources and encouragement shown me by the other school librarians in the New York City school library system, the people in the NYCDOE office of library services, and the many, many school librarians around the country who have taught me so much.”
The Bammy Awards, which aim to foster cross-discipline recognition of the collective contributions being made to educate children, honor educators’ contributions in 31 different categories.