November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Librarians To Be the Stars of a 2018 Calendar

Firefighters have a calendar. So do cute puppies. But when do you see a beaming librarian presiding over the month of April? Capstone, publisher of children’s books and digital products, is changing that. For the first time, the company is putting the winners of a national photo contest, touted as “The Power of Librarians,” into calendar form.

“We’re inspired by our customers’ stories every day, plus we see librarians sharing their triumphs and challenges with each other in various social media groups, so we thought the calendar would be a fun way to celebrate those stories,” explains Amy Cox, marketing director at Capstone. “It’ll be a daily reminder of the power librarians have to make a difference.”

The easy part was the nominating process—most of the librarians were suggested by their colleagues and/or the parents of their students. But selecting the 13 winners was far tougher. “A small group within the company reviewed the nominations. The [librarians] that rose to the top all shared a passion for connecting with their students and their communities,” reports Cox. What wasn’t a factor was location, she adds. “Small towns, urban areas, schools with lots of resources, or ones that struggle…it didn’t matter because each of the winning librarians is a fierce student advocate,” she adds.

Cicely Lewis, dressed as Beyoncé for a video she made about reading

Honoring powerful librarians was only part of Capstone’s goal. Another aspect of the project was to debunk the myth of the stereotypical librarian: women in glasses and buns shushing patrons. “Real librarians are as diverse as the students they serve—and some of them have quite the flair for good costume, too,” Cox says.

One prime example is Cicely Lewis, media specialist at Meadowcreek High School Media Center in Norcross, GA. She sported Beyoncé-esque garb in a video advertising her library’s books. Brenda Delcid, her library science student, took the winning shot of Lewis dressed as the pop diva in the “Formation” video. Lewis, who works with teens, felt like a rock star when she was chosen as a winner. “I am elated. This honor has motivated me to do more, because I know that other people now recognize the importance of the library media specialist,” she says.

Anne Mlod, hiking Taal Volcano in the Phillippines

The winning photo of Anne Mlod, a school librarian at Genesee Elementary School in Auburn, NY, was taken in the Phillippines. She spent three weeks in the country last summer learning about its education system as the first elementary librarian to participate in the Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellowship program. “I was so surprised to be chosen [for the calendar]! I know many amazing librarians, so I’m honored to represent them,” Mlod relates. Her hope is that the picture might inspire other librarians to take on new adventures.

Amy Marquez was also featured on the cover of the Texas Library Association Journal.

Another winning shot, this time of Amy Lynn Marquez, was taken on the job. At the time, she was in a staff development meeting training colleagues to use apps to generate comics. “We were preparing for a super hero themed summer reading celebration,” recalls the librarian from Marica R. Garza Elementary School in Alamo, TX. The win was incredibly special, she reports. “I’m very passionate about the importance of librarians, and the impact [we] make in the field of education. I hope the calendar communicates how essential funding is for the fine arts in schools,” she adds.

The calendar will be available starting in August on CapstonePub.com, with points accrued through the Capstone rewards program able to be applied to the purchase. All of the lauded librarians are heartened by the fact that this project will highlight how exciting read can be. “And in a time when the purpose of the library is being challenged, this award is so relevant—everybody needs to get information!” concludes Lewis.


Jennifer Kelly Geddes is an editor and writer whose work has appeared on the sites of Parents, Highlights, Fisher-Price, and Celebrations.

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