7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region- PT. 3

7 HCPS Librarians Nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region- PT. 3

Henrico County Public Schools have a plethora of wonderful librarians and seven of them have been nominated for VAASL’s School Librarian of the Year for the James Region.  The following is the third and final post that includes questions and answers from each of them about the award.  Congratulations to them all and make sure to check back for the rest of the interviews!

See Part 1 here  and Part 2 here .

Brooke Davis

Brooke Davis

Can you tell me about your library and what you believe are the best programs or lessons that you have done?

My library is very active all day long.  Our busiest times are for the hour before school and during all three lunches when students come in to work, read and socialize.  The rest of the day ebbs and flows as classes come in and out. Each month we have a contest and a program that promotes reading, literacy and fun.  Our student book club and library aids help us to create colorful displays that rotate seasonally.

My best lessons are the ones that are interactive and have lots of hands on components. I have developed station lessons that use iPads, arts and crafts, vocabulary and non-fiction articles to go along with many of the major units taught in our English 9 classes.  I really enjoy creating hands on science lessons for the alternative SOLs (VAAPS) for our exceptional education classes. One of my favorite lessons this year was a lesson on creating a budget using Excel and real world data.  I taught this lesson  for ROTC students as they began to plan for their lives in the military. They seemed to get a lot out of the lesson and asked amazingly insightful questions.

How long have you been a school librarian? At your current school?

I have been a school librarian for 9 years. All of these years have been at Varina High School.

Why do you think you were nominated for the award?

I think I was nominated for the award because I have mentored so many new librarians in our county officially and unofficially.  Kim Morrison nominated me and she is one the people I encouraged to start library classes at Longwood and later to take on a leadership role in VAASL. We have worked closely together for more than 12 years.

What does the award mean to you?

The nomination is humbling. I truly feel like I just do what I am supposed to do as a school librarian and I am always striving to improve my program based on best practices. It is nice to be recognized for my efforts, however, and I will never forget some of the kind words people have said to me.

Anything you else you want to say about your library, school, or the award.

I would not have such a successful library program if it was not for the contributions of my co-librarians Virginia Brown and Honor Zalewski.  In the secondary library, it is truly a team effort.  I have also been fortunate to have some wonderful assistants – Amy Coward, Anita Tarbox and Kaitlin Dunnevant. My principals Tracie Omohundro and Ann Marie Seely have been extremely supportive of my attempts to get grants and start new initiatives. VAASL has also been very important in my success. I have learned so much from others in the James Region and throughout the state at conferences and in publication.


Update:  Brooke won the award.  For more on that, click here.  Congratulations Brooke!


Deanna Hamlin



Deanna Hamlin is in her 8th year as the librarian at Ruby F. Carver Elementary.  We recently highlighted her Read Across America/ Dr. Seuss events on our blog and you can click here to read about them on her blog.   Here is what Deanna had to say about her library, her goals and role within the school, and being nominated for the award:

“In many ways, effective communication begins with mutual respect, communication that inspires, and encourages others to do their best.”– Zig Ziglar

As an elementary school librarian, I have the unique pleasure of making a difference in the academic progress of all students.   This challenge is enthusiastically embraced, and it is accomplished through building relationships.   Trust has to be built with administrators, teaching faculty, parents and students.  A team can have talented players, but if those players do not work as a team embracing mutual respect, cooperation, communication and common goals, the team may experience limited success.  To inspire one must first built trust and respect.

My goal is to encourage critical thinking and knowledge growth through authentic, hands-on learning, integrating real-life connections. As a fellow teacher I collaborate with grade-level teams to integrate their curriculum into library lessons.

As the Zig Ziglar quote at the beginning implies . . . to inspire and encourage others, we must be able to communicate, but communication begins with respect. It is my objective to create a haven and a climate of mutual respect whether it be students, parents, teachers or administrators.  It is my personal mission to create an accessible, non-threatening space where students, parents, faculty and administrators feel welcome.  Student engagement, learning and growth are immediately evident to all visitors.  As librarians know, research studies continue to substantiate the positive impact a well-staffed school library has on student learning.  It is my goal to make sure that is obvious in the Ruby F. Carver library.


Congratulations to all of our nominees and wonderful teacher librarians!

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