Booker T. Washington librarian Alisha Wilson has been recognized as one of the top librarians in the country. Specifically, she is being honored for her work promoting innovation centers in the school’s library.
Wilson has been named the School Librarian Maker Hero of 2017 by “School Library Journal” and Scholastic Library Publishing. She has also been entered as a finalist in their competition to find this year’s Librarian of the Year.
“Since 2014, Scholastic has had the privilege of honoring many bright, creative, and passionate librarians through the School Librarian of the Year Award, and this year is no exception, said Allison Henderson, Vice President and General Manager, Scholastic Library Publishing, in a statement. “By transforming their libraries into innovative learning spaces and partnering with families, the community, and peers, these librarians exemplify creativity and dedication. We look forward to seeing how they inspire future generations of young readers and independent thinkers.”
The publishing company offered this assessment of Wilson: In 2015, Wilson left her teaching position at Booker T. Washington High School to become the school’s new librarian. Determined to transform the space into a hub of discovery and learning, Wilson partnered with faculty, students, and the community to create an Innovation Center and introduce resources that would revolutionize how the space was used—from scissors and crafting material, to sewing machines, Ozobots, and 3D printers. Looking for a way to foster creativity and provide one-on-one support for students, Wilson developed the library’s Spark Lab, encouraging students’ free-thinking through project-based learning. She also led a partnership with the University of West Florida to start the high school’s first-ever Writing Lab, where college students volunteer to help Booker T. Washington students improve their writing skills.
Wilson’s nomination was evaluated by a panel of industry professionals. The panel considered several criteria, such as exemplary service to fulfill the needs of students and the school’s community, effective integration of library services with curricula, demonstrated student engagement, as well as parent and family outreach.
A brief ceremony was held in Wilson’s honor Aug. 24 in the Wildcat Innovation Center at Washington’s library.