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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

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.

For 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.

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