black eyed susan flowers in a bunchMaryland's Monthly Amazing School Librariansblack eyed susans in a bunch

Nominate yourself! Nominate a friend! Help us to celebrate the amazing school librarians around our state each month: Click Here for the Nomination Form 

May 2020

Amy Garlitz
School Librarian
Frederick High School
Frederick County Public Schools

Amy has been a school librarian for two years.

Becoming a librarian has been a dream come true! From recommending books and creating displays to editing student essays, I absolutely love getting the chance to work with students in so many different ways! I am a former social studies teacher who loves planning creative lessons. Gamification is one of my passions and I love collaborating with other teachers to incorporate these dynamic elements into their lessons.

Frederick High School is the most diverse high school in our county so I strive to have a collection that reflects our students. Our staff is on board to create a culture of reading and promote what they are reading with displays outside of their doors. My English department supports choice reading time at the beginning of every class, and they regularly bring their classes into the library for book exchange and participate in library contests.

One of my most successful collaborations was with one of my English teachers. We created a whole Gamified Dystopian Unit. During this unit, students had to create their own societies and complete various competitions including a building challenge, escape room, boss battles and a propaganda competition. We created items that would give students power ups during the challenges and we hid Easter eggs throughout the building for students to find and gain extra advantages.

My goal for this school year is to try to collaborate with my math and science teachers. They are the only departments I haven't worked with yet, but I'm excited because the Math Department chair invited me to her department meeting to share ways I can collaborate with her team.

If you have questions for Amy please reach out to her at [email protected] or on Twitter @MrsGarlitz.

April 2020

 Picture of Ms. Diskin

Trayce Diskin
School Librarian
Silver Creek Middle School
Montgomery County Public Schools

I am a former English and ESOL teacher who has found her creative and professional home in school library media. Our library media program encourages and supports a life-long love of reading and sharing our narratives. We support students’ with information literacy skills, and in-depth inquiry skills across all contents. We nurture students' creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking from multiple perspectives. Most importantly, we work hard to offer a safe and welcoming home for all students.

Our 8th grade health students created original ebooks and audiobooks about the dangers of using substances such as tobacco, opioids, and marijuana. Their audience was our feeder school fifth graders, and they prepared by familiarizing themselves with the fifth grade curriculum for this topic. Our students then researched, organized, and storyboarded their ideas before creating informative and engaging books. As part of the process, we focused on several information and media literacy skills, including evaluating website credibility, effectively searching article databases, and communicating our knowledge through the SOAPS components (subject, organization, audience, purpose, and speaker). We will be sharing our books with the fifth graders next month, and our student authors and readers will participate in a virtual authors’ chat and Q&A.

My goal for this school year is to create programming that engages all students, especially those who don't come to the library often. I also want to build upon our racially and culturally diverse collection, so that we are not only offering a diversity of authors and characters, but of narratives.

If you have questions for Trayce please reach out to her at [email protected] or @SCMSMediaCtr

March 2020

Ms. Beach

Jennifer Beach
School Librarian
Pocomoke Middle School
Worcester County Public Schools

Jennifer has been working as a school librarian for 8 years.

I am currently in my 4th year as the librarian at Pocomoke Middle School. Educational Technology and Making are close to my heart and that passion can be seen in my library program. When I took over this very traditional library, it housed an outdated collection and five desktop computers. If you visit my library today, you will see a hub of activity. From students learning how to create in Minecraft EDU, hands-on making with Pearler beads, or enjoying a new Graphic novel, our library is truly a place where students can think, grow, share and create!

Pocomoke Middle School is located on the rural Eastern Shore of Maryland. With 73% of our students receiving free or reduced meals, their hurdles are great. Exposing my students to life changing technology and STEM resources are essential to my library program and Makerspace.

Over the past two years, I have been tasked with teaching 4th and 5th grade Advanced Enrichment/Gifted and Talented groups each day. These students have given me the opportunity to incorporate my heart for technology and innovative learning into my library program. They are always willing to try something new and have allowed me to explore many new resources for teaching and learning. One of my favorite activities is integrating coding into our lessons. My students love Scratch and the wealth of possibilities they have to create with it. Creating Biography Bottles is one of our favorite activities. It mashes Scratch and Makey Makeys, along with some hands-on creating. An amazing initiative that has stemmed from my passion for coding, is the introduction of Girls Who Code into our afterschool program. Bringing the world of coding to the future women of technology is essential to create equality in this growing field!

In an ever-changing library, goals and initiatives are countless. One major goal for this school year is to make my Makerspace area more intentional. This goal will encourage my students to engage in Making and STEM activities that challenge them both personally and academically.

To hear more about Jennifer and her library programming ideas please reach out to her at
[email protected] or Twitter at @pmsmakerspace.

February 2020

Anne Jones

Anne Jones

Windy Hill Middle School

Calvert County Public Schools

Anne has been working as a school librarian for 15 years.

I see the library as very valuable "real estate" in my school (largest space behind the cafeteria & gym), therefore, I want to make sure it is being utilized as much as possible! I invite ELA, social studies and science classes in regularly with a primary focus on connecting students with books they’ll enjoy, great sources and tools for research, and the ever changing world of information literacy such as "fake" news, reliable sources and how to be a discerning consumer of information. I am the Green School coordinator and I can’t wait to incorporate this topic into lessons! I have the BEST job in the school!

Our school is busting at the seams with 800+ students. We have a diverse socioeconomic population. While of course every student is unique, we have a pretty typical middle school community. We are a 1 to 1 school for a second year which has been awesome! Our staff provides so much extra with clubs and programs to support all students to help them be the best they can be!

One of my favorite lessons is around the First Amendment using materials from The Newseum. So many great conversations come up around the press and freedoms we have. In our current climate, I think it's so important for students to learn, understand, discuss and reflect on the rights we have vs. what others around the world have or don't have. And to fully understand the role of the press and the value of having this freedom. And I love to get kids excited about books and authors!

This year my goals are to implement the Black Eyed Susan program, incorporate more blended learning (thanks to the MASL Conference break out session on the topic) and redesign the library space including new furniture, shelving and carpet with a 3 year plan!

To hear more about Anne and her library programming ideas please reach out to her at [email protected] or Twitter at [email protected] 

January 2020

Laruen Magnuson

Lauren Magnuson
Kenwood High School
Baltimore County Public Schools

Lauren has been working as a school librarian for 13 years and at Kenwood High School for the past 7 years.

I've been at KHS for 7 years and have implemented a strong instructional and literacy program, including SSR. I have curated a collection that supports the social issues assessments embedded in all levels of our English curriculum and co-teach the grade 9 Service Learning PBA. I am supporting the Personal Project for our 10th graders as we seek IB Middle Years Program certification and have attended several PDs for IB Librarians. For the last 4 years, I have facilitated lessons with all 9th graders and our public librarians who come to the school. I provide PD for our district librarians.

Our school library community is very diverse racially, ethnically, and social economically. We support learners and readers of all levels academically, socially, and emotionally through a diverse collection, comfortable student hang out and learning spaces, and a spirit of kindness and respect.

My 3 year collaboration with grade 9 English teachers developing and co-teaching the research project and action plans on a social issue which earns the students service learning hours is one of the strongest projects in my instructional program. Over the years we have designed a variety of different final products, ways to choose topics such as an image gallery walk directly connected to database topics or choosing a topic embedded in a novel or non-fiction narrative that students read prior to doing their research. Some of my mini-lessons include paraphrasing, using NoodleTools, evaluating charities, and using PowerPoint to create infographics.

Since we are now 1:1 with devices, I am working on developing, presenting, and providing 24/7 accessible and in-person PD for all teachers (NoodleTools, databases, designing research projects, etc.) as they are doing research embedded in curriculum in their classrooms.I am promoting a standard way of having students do research throughout the school. 

 To hear more about Lauren and her library programming ideas please reach out to her at [email protected]