PAHS selected as 2018 School Library Program of the Year

The Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) contacted Princess Anne High School (PAHS) Library Media Specialists Jen Ludford and Courtney Porter Tuesday, June 5, to notify them of the good news.

“It is with great joy that I get to inform you that Princess Anne High School has been selected as this year’s winner of the Virginia Association of School Librarians’ School Library Program of the Year Award,” wrote Jen Spisak, VAASL scholarships and awards chair, in her congratulatory email.

In her letter to nominate her colleagues for the distinction, PAHS Spanish teacher Meagan Starks wrote: “At Princess Anne High School, the [library media center] is the place where everyone (students and teachers alike) wants to spend their time. Whether it’s reading, planning, socializing or strategizing, Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Ludford make the LMC a welcoming and safe environment for everyone at our school. From study bars to kindness rocks, breakout sessions to robotic coding, the LMC enhances the way that our school views learning, researching and reading.”

Ludford and Porter submitted additional information required by the VAASL regarding the integration of the library’s mission statement “into the mission, goals and objectives of the school;” evidence of ongoing outreach efforts; and “evidence to show how the school library program practices its commitment to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information.” Additionally, the VAASL requires that the librarian(s) in the nominated program are members of the association in good standing.

In their submission of evidence to the selection committee Ludford and Porter wrote: “Each year we strive to improve our practice as school librarians. We are constantly striving to help both students and staff become the most effective users of ideas and information and provide them with access to the most current and updated programs and trends within the profession. We seek to create and model a culture where students and staff inquire, include, collaborate, curate, explore, and engage.”

They provided additional details about their international learning experience, #AskACurator Day; incorporation of information literacy strategies and organizational tools using G-Suite applications; their annula Community Problem Fair for English 10 students; support of Breakout EDU activities; and emphasis on student agency.

“We are faithful proponents of student agency in our library program,” wrote Ludford and Porter in their application. “This year alone, we created hyperdocs to provide scaffolding for exploring, explaining, applying, and reflecting of content. We consistently research to find the best programs for students’ creation.”

In his letter of support, PAHS Assistant Principal Ryan O’Meara wrote: “Princess Anne’s library is an inviting space for students thanks to the work of our library media specialists. [They] are constantly seeking innovative ways to improve our school’s library program to best meet the evolving needs of our students. They have collaborated to efficiently organize the physical space of the library and to effectively bring the resources of the library to teachers and classrooms. Our school library program also remains committed to the school and community as evident through their dedication to ongoing outreach initiatives.”

Ludford and Porter will be presented with their award at the VAASL Author/Awards Banquet Nov. 30 held during the association’s annual Fall Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.

For more information about the VAASL, visit


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