Submitted by Jan Carmichael on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:30
In June, at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas we spoke with Michelle Luhtala, winner of the 2011 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award, about the impact that winning had on her career and her local community.
Luhtala explained that in addition to the boost to her career, winning the award turned out to be a valuable advocacy piece for her school library.
The additional visibility helped the entire parent community to better understand how a library program can have a powerful impact on each and every learner and contributed to an increase in the number of enthusiastic parent-volunteers.
The award also had a positive impact on her local school district. Since winning in 2011, New Canaan (Conn.) High School has been widely recognized as a model for achievement and has been visited by representatives of more than 30 other communities.
Perhaps most surprisingly though, Luhtala told us about the positive impact winning the I Love My Librarian Award had on the student who nominated her. She invited the student to accompany her to public speaking engagements at six conferences in the months following the announcement of the award. The student went on to college the next year and as a result of that public speaking experience he became part of the journalism team and was invited to speak at subsequent conferences and events.