Julie Stivers Named 2023 School Librarian of the Year

The librarian at Mount Vernon Middle School in Raleigh, NC, has created a welcoming and inclusive space while building a reflective collection and empowering academic-recovery students.

School Librarian of the Year SLJ print magazine cover and interior spread graphic

Julie Stivers is the 2023 School Librarian of the Year.

The librarian at Mount Vernon Middle School, an alternative, public, academic-recovery school in Raleigh, NC, has spent the last nine years creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for the school's students, who fell behind or were left back for a variety of reasons. She has built a collection that reflects the community of students and their interests, fostering a love of reading along the way, as well as running in-person and virtual clubs and community reads and checking in with families as she strives to make a difference through personal relationships. Stivers also co-chairs the school's equity team and is the grants coordinator.

Julie Stivers and students in the school library.“Julie has made the library a place where kids truly want to be, a place where they belong, and a place that many call home," says Carrie West, a school counselor at Mount Vernon. "This welcoming environment, coupled with the ability to see themselves in the materials, has allowed students to open up to Julie in a way they may not otherwise.”

In addition to Stivers, two finalists were named: Melissa Corey, library media specialist at Robidoux Middle School in St. Joseph, MO; and Karina Quilantan-Garza, library media specialist at Jaime Escalante Middle School in Pharr, TX.

“It is our privilege at SLJ to honor these outstanding educators with the 2023 School Librarian of the Year Award, which highlights the critical role of school librarians in supporting young learners," says SLJ editor in chief Kathy Ishizuka. "Julie Stivers, Melissa Corey, and Karina Quilantan-Garza present an inspiring example for us all, proving how dedicated individuals can make a difference for our next generation.”

The annual award, presented by SLJ and sponsored by Scholastic, recognizes the outstanding work of K–12 library professionals who have consistently demonstrated exceptional use of technology and print materials to not only successfully engage students in learning but also spark new ideas within their school and community.

The year's submissions were judged by 2022 School Librarian of the Year K.C. Boyd, SLJ editors, Lizette Serrano of Scholastic, and Marcie D. Rice Ed.D., who is the principal at Meadowbrook High School in North Chesterfield, VA.

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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is senior news editor at School Library Journal.

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