McHENRY, IL - December 8, 1999 - Follett Software Company, in conjunction with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), has announced library media specialists Sharlene Miller-Ballas, Craig House School, Pittsburgh, PA, and Betty Brackin, Leroy High School, Leroy, AL, as winners of the 1999 Information Technology Pathfinder Award. Co-sponsored by Follett Software and AASL (a division of the American Library Association), the annual award is designed to recognize and honor school library media specialists in elementary and secondary schools demonstrating vision and leadership through the use of information technology to build lifelong learners.
Sharlene Miller-Ballas from Craig House School
Miller-Ballas, winner in the elementary division, undertook the task of developing information-technology literate students, despite the fact that Craig House School's media center had no budget for technology, media or library books in its 44-year history. She began by forming a technology committee that developed plans and secured funds to update and enhance technology through grants, educational redemption programs and a book fair. Then Miller-Ballas worked closely with teachers and students to integrate the technology into the curriculum. She hosted open houses to familiarize teachers with library resources and the Internet and began incorporating technology into students' daily lives to accomplish her goal.
As a result, Craig House teachers have learned to develop more innovative teaching strategies that promote hands-on learning using the technology, while the students have begun creating their own web pages and searching the library's catalog electronically for the first time. Her efforts convinced the school to add its first media budget ever into the 1999-2000 school year budget.
Betty Brackin from Leroy High School
Betty Brackin, winner in the secondary division, overcame many obstacles to implement a stronger, technology-enhanced library program at Leroy High School. The high school's technology was scarce and outdated, its teachers had little technology experience, most students didn't have computers at home and the library was typically quiet and avoided by students. Brackin was challenged to acquire new technology, instruct staff and students to use it, and ultimately change the library into a more integral component of the students' education.
With the aid of a newly formed technology committee, Brackin developed a plan and raised money from grants and fund-raisers to purchase new technology. She replaced the card catalog with an online catalog, connected the school to the Internet and implemented the Accelerated Reader program. Brackin also provided professional development training for teachers during inservice days and helped them plan projects that incorporated the new technology. Her efforts have helped Leroy students become more effective users of ideas and technology and turned the quiet library into a bustling center of activity.
Both Miller-Ballas and Brackin were awarded with a plaque, $1,000.00 and travel expenses to and from ALA's Annual Conference, plus a certificate and $500.00 for each of their library media centers.
Year 2000 Applications
Applications for the 2000 Information Technology Pathfinder Award are being accepted through February 1, 2000. Each applicant must be a school library media specialist and a personal member of AASL. Contact Follett Software's customer service at (800) 323-3397 or AASL at (800) 545-2433 for an application, or go to www.ala.org/aasl/awards.html. Entries must be sent to AASL at 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2795.
About Follett Software Company
Since 1985, Follett Software Company has provided school, public and special libraries with leading-edge library automation, Internet and curriculum resource software and services. Its Circulation Plus software, with more than 29,000 installations worldwide, is the number one selling library automation system in the K-12 marketplace. Follett Software Company is a division of Follett Corporation, and is headquartered in McHenry, IL. The company was recently ranked among the top ten largest software companies in Chicago. For additional information, call (800) 323-3397 or go to www.fsc.follett.com.