Saugatuck El Loves Its Librarian

Melissa Augeri loves her librarian.

She loves her enough to nominate Rae Anne Locke of Saugatuck Elementary School for an “I Love My Librarian” Award.

Rae Anne Locke

Rae Anne Locke

And the Carnegie Corporation of New York and New York Times loves Rae Anne enough to name her 1 of its 10 winners — chosen from over 1,500 nominees at school, college and public libraries around the nation.

Rae Anne receives a $5,000 award, 2 plaques (one for herself, one for her library), and a trip to last night’s awards reception, hosted by the Times.

In her nomination letter, Melissa said:

Since 2002, Rae Anne Locke has poured her heart and soul into planning, creating and growing the Secret Garden Library, a vibrant, warm and inviting place that is much more than a school library. It is truly the learning hub for our entire school community.

With a collection of over 20,000 titles, the library is the place where everyone in the school wants to be, due to Rae Anne’s unique ability to cultivate meaningful relationships with students, staff and parents. It is through these relationships that she knows and “grows” her students — matching each child to just the right books.

Her innovative, “outside the box” thinking has greatly enhanced teachers’ work with students both in and out of their classrooms. Rae Anne’s collaborative projects have challenged students to meet our district goal to develop their 21st century skills.

Teachers love to work with Rae Anne, thanks to her “contagious” enthusiasm and excitement.

Kids GuideFor example, she collaborated with the 2nd grade team to produce “The Kid’s Guide to Westport.” Students interviewed town leaders, then worked with graphic design students from Staples High School to produce and publish a unique work.

She also helped 5th graders create digital, multi-dimensional “book trailers.”

Melissa explained that project:

Reluctant readers and writers were able to shine because they were able to proudly share their story through their own photographs and music selections instead of the traditional, written book review. Her strong relationships and intimate knowledge of each of the 5th grade students helped to guide them from the book selection process to the digital posting.

Rae Anne also collaborates with the technology teacher to produce the Saugatuck Seal News – a monthly digital school news program.

There is much more to learn about Rae Anne. Click here to read it all.

8 responses to “Saugatuck El Loves Its Librarian

  1. What a great honor! I have had the pleasure of working with Rae Ann as a volunteer in her library and her knowing my three children for the past seven years. As a current parent of two students at SES, I am thrilled for Rae Ann and her award, and happy that I am subscribed to Dan’s blog, because apparently SES, nor the members of the BOE thought it was necessary to share this most relevant and exciting news with the school communities. My most heartfelt and warmest congratulations to Rae Ann for your dedication to our children!

  2. Congratulations Rae Ann! (and thank you Dan for bringing this to Westport’s attention). What a wonderful honor! We are so lucky to have such a gem in our school system – a model for others here and around the country. What Rae Ann is doing can truly make a child love reading and learning. Thank you!

  3. Rae Anne, Congratulations! You are amazing and our children are so lucky to have you!! xoxo

  4. Rae Ann is the best. Thanks for featuring this

  5. Thank you Melissa for nominating fabulous Rae Ann!!

  6. Melissa Fogel Augeri

    Thank you so much for highlighting Rae Anne Locke – our SES librarian. It is amazing that she received the award — but not surprising as she certainly deserves it. I would like to add that 1,500 librarians from around the country were nominated and Rae Anne was the only Elementary School Librarian in the country to receive this prestigious award. As a nominator, I had the privilege of gathering and synthesizing information, comments and compliments from students, parents, colleagues and administrators. The nomination was collaborative and would not have been complete without these essential contributions. Westport is very lucky to have Rae Anne.
    – Melissa Fogel Augeri

  7. Kerstin Warner

    I was there last night, along with Maxine Bleiweis and Bill Derry of the Westport Library, as well as colleagues, parents and students from Westport Schools, to cheer for Rae Anne at the beautiful reception at the New York Times building. My heart filled with pride to see her honored in this way. She gave an inspired acceptance speech, and made all of us wish we could be kids in her library! She is warm and creative, hard-working and open, and a wonderful colleague and friend.

  8. My children, now in high school, were lucky to have Rae Anne as their librarian at Saugatuck. She welcomed them by name, always with a smile, and she could find the perfect book on any topic of interest. Lemurs from Madagascar? Birds from the Galapagos? No problem! My favorite memory of those days was her invitation to parents to come in before school for some quiet time with the kids reading in the library before the commencement of the school day.What a sweet way to start! Congrats, Rae Anne and thank you for opening so many doors for so many children!