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 

September 2020

Jacob Gerding

Jacob Gerding
School Librarian
Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School
Charles County Public Schools

Hello, my name is Jacob Gerding, and I am excited to be your voice in MASL this year as a Member-at-Large. I am an elementary school librarian at Dr. Thomas Higdon Elementary School in Charles County. I love doing lessons that integrate social studies into the learning experience through databases and literature, especially since it is such a marginalized subject at the elementary level. I also enjoy providing my students with rich STEM experiences that allow them to think and create. In addition to the work I do with my students, also collaborate with the public library to provide monthly preschool story times for children in our rural community to allow opportunities for socialization, as well as exposure to quality literature from a young age.

When I am not teaching my students library media skills and dispositions, I am co-coaching multiple VEX IQ robotics teams at my school. The students learn a variety of physical science and engineering concepts and apply them to create original designs and strategies in order to complete new challenges this year. The students do not just do robotics; they do robotics well! In the four years I coached robotics, my teams made it to the World Championships three of those years!

I truly believe that the challenges presented by distance learning provide opportunities for library media specialists to shine and remind our communities of how integral we are to our school communities. While promoting literacy and quality literature is at the heart of what we do, this is the time for us to teach our students about digital citizenship and to provide our teachers training on relevant 21st century learning tools that can be used to enhance learning outcomes for our students.

As a Member-at-Large, I am a member of the Black-Eyed Susan 4-6 Novel Committee. I am enjoying the opportunity to extend my knowledge of the most recent literature available for my students. However, part of my role is to be here for all of you: the library media specialists that keep students, teachers, and communities at schools all across our state informed, connected, and engaged. Please know that, during these unusual times, MASL is here to offer resources and support to help you discover your full potential. Our work has never been more important than it is now!

If you have any questions, you many contact me at j[email protected].

 August 2020

Monique Gillis
School Librarian
Northern High School
Calvert County Public Schools
Monique has been a school librarian for 10 years.

I am an avid reader who encourages reading in our library, but also promotes the library as the place to come for any and everything.  I believe what makes my community unique is the diversity of student type. I have cheerleaders, artists, gamers and everyone in between on every given day.

My favorite programs this year have been book tastings! I’ve done tastings based on both genres and authors. One of our most successful book tasting was on books by author Jason Reynolds. In a book tasting students are able to read for about five minutes in each book and then they will answer specific questions about what they read so far and finally if they would like to continue reading it. I had more students than I could count who wanted to read several of Mr. Reynolds books -as a matter of fact so many that I had to put several of them on hold. As a librarian anytime a student enjoys reading and enjoys discussing what they’ve read- we have success!

My goals are to collaborate with teachers to support curriculum and to provide students with "a place"- a place to be safe, to research, to learn, to innovate, to experiment, to make mistakes, to think, to explore, and to READ and to figure out how to provide this digitally!

If you have questions for Monique please reach out to her at


July 2020

Crystal Johnson
School Librarian
Dynard Elementary School
St. Mary's County Public Schools

Crystal has been a school librarian for 3 years.

After 22 years in special education, I realized I was ready for a career change. I recall having a lovely conversation with a librarian in the county about her position and suddenly realized that the library is where I wanted to be.  

At Dynard Elementary, our library program is the heart of the school.  Reading is at the core of everything we do. By accessing our collection of books, digital resources, and hands-on maker space activities, students engage in an enriched environment where they feel safe to develop their personal interests and grow in academic competency for 21st-century learning. 

Students from our school come from a variety of experiences. In my three short years, I have noticed every student strives to feel heard, valued, and experience a personal connection with school staff who see them for the unique individuals that they are. Our students love the library!

As an elementary school librarian, I have recently realized there is nothing like the pure joy one gets from refurbishing an old book cart. This past school year, I shared the story "Big Heroes, Little Libraries" by Miranda Paul. Our students learned how the Little Free Library first started. We discovered that libraries could take on many forms. With a little elbow grease, creativity, and book donations, our students have access to a refurbished book cart now turned into a “ little free library”. Students are able to visit the cart to choose books that are their very own.  This simple project has brought a lot of joy to students.  

This past school year, I genrefied my fiction collection. I have observed positive benefits from shifting to this type of classification; a dynamic culture of reading has grown as students are frequently talking about books and finding it easier to locate titles. I would like to  “genrefy” my Everybody Chapter Book Series for next year. 

If you have questions for Crystal please reach out to her at [email protected].

June 2020

Tatanisha "Tiki" Love
School Librarian
Loch Raven Technical Academy
Baltimore County Public Schools
Tiki has been a school librarian for over 15 years.
I am passionate about libraries and the services we provide to our communities.  This school year, I had a chance to do a lesson for Black History Month. Students began by looking at a famous photograph and sharing what they saw in the picture. That led to discussion and segued into the students listening and viewing portions of an eBook related to The Little Rock Nine. What made this lesson my favorite in 25 years was the fact that my mother shared a video of her memories of going to a segregated school. I was so proud she was willing to share her firsthand account with my students. We then discussed the importance of primary sources and students had a chance to pick from two closing questions.
If you have questions for Tiki please reach out to her at [email protected].

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.