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Librarian of the Year Award



Nominations for the 2015 Librarian of the Year are open. You have until January 30 to nominate your favorite librarian!

Big D Reads wants to honor the contributions of great local librarians through its annual Librarian of the Year award. Whether it’s helping with genealogy research, finding fun books for kids to read, or gently shushing a rowdy group in the periodical section, librarians work hard for our city. Brainy, bold, and bookish, they hold a special place in our heart.
We’re looking for a librarian who…
* advocates for literacy, helping people at any age learn to read and encouraging everyone to find a good book.
* increases access to information through a variety of media. He or she understands that ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge empowers.
* enhances the library experience through innovative projects and ideas.
* expands the role of the library in the community.

Nominations are open to any certified librarian currently working full or part-time at a library located within Dallas city limits. Librarians at public libraries and those employed by schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, museums, and research laboratories are eligible.

The Librarian of the Year will receive recognition in D Magazine’s April issue and other prizes TBD.

Questions? Please contact us at 214-540-0118 and we will be delighted to provide more information.

Nominate your favorite librarian here


2015 Nominees

Susi Parks Grissom

Ms. Grissom is an amazing individual, who makes it a point to know each and every one of her students, and their parents, too! She doesn’t miss a beat and seems to contemplate questions even as she teaches a class. she really does give her best effort at helping and teaching. She offers up so much information about reading, understanding & ANALYzing sources of information, and about how to find information. I am so grateful for her tireless service to our students and to her community. It was a pleasure to volunteer in her busy little library at William travis school for the talented and gifted.

Juan Moa Jr.

Dedicated librarian to the City of Dallas’ Cedar Springs Branch.

Jan Burnett

This librarian has created an amazing and safe space for all of our students. So many students are there before school, during lunch, and after school. She consistently goes above and beyond to encourage students to read and makes sure that Pinkston is a place that supports literacy for students and teachers.

Mrs. Burnett is the BEST! Whatever we need done, she is always there to help and get the job done! Her spirit is always upbeat and she is always up for a challenge! She is the BEST librarian I have ever worked with!
Simply the BEST!

Ms. Burnett facilitates the education for many, many students–before, during, and after school. She also assist much of the instructional staff with key integrative texts and media forms to concertize teacher professional development alongside academic student achievement and excellence.

She is always available for me and my students. Very knowledgeable and helpful.

Ms. Burnett is a tireless champion of the importance of reading and is always looking for creative ways to reach students and make reading fun. She is an excellent collaborator and is always ready to “talk shop” with teachers to help them plan engaging projects that involve the library. She is truly the tops!

She is informative and is helpful. Always looking for opportunities to increase the readership and to share information with students and teachers. Providing support when needed and offering support when required.

Ms. Burnett is very knowledgeable and helpful. She is kind and patient with the students. The library is well organized and decorated in different themes throughout the year. Along with being helpful to students, she is a great resource for teachers.


She is always ready to help someone. She is  an amazing person with everybody. She always comes with brilliant ideas. She keeps our library organized all times.

She goes above and beyond for us and has a passion for promoting reading and lifelong learning. She helps out the students and truly cares for the kids.

Ms Burnett is not only knowledgeable of her job but goes beyond the call of duty to make both the students and her colleagues comfortable when looking for information. She is the Champion for the great cause of literacy with a passion for promoting reading. I would not miss this opportunity to elect her as the outstanding librarian of the year. She sponsored more than one reading challenges to encourage students at Pinkston participate and appreciate literature. Our Star Wars Queen!

Ms. Burnett has a passion for reading that is conveyed to all of our students in grades 9-12. She is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure our students are able to utilize resource materials for projects and to assist the campus with literacy initiatives. She is the driving force for our ESL students to ensure they are being provided opportunities to enhance their language development skills through literacy.

She’s been the best person at pinkston since I’ve been at this school. She’s just utterly awesome.

Ms. Burnett is one of the best librarians I’ve ever known!! I as her student have known her for three years. She is such an amazing person with such a big heart!!

Ms. Burnett should deserve to be recognize because she helps out a lot.

Ms.Burnett deserves to be recognized for many reasons. Ms. Burnett helps out my fellow peers when they need assistance and not only that she updates us on upcoming books. Shes not just s librarian but also a sponsor of National Honor Society and has helped me be more determined in myself and lead away my fellow classmates.Ms.Burnett is the most generous and has a warm heart that illuminates L.G. Pinkston Library.With that being said Ms.Burnett deserves to shine and be recognized as the Librarian of the year.

Ms. Burnett is an outstanding Librarian, colleague, and mentor that will goes above and beyond to help others while promoting the gift of reading. She uses every opportunity to share her love for reading whether it’s dressing up for homecoming or helping with testing, you can guarantee that Ms. Burnett will be sharing her favorite books that relate to the occasion. The most memorable thing she’s done this year was dressing up as a hippie and marching around the hallways during passing periods while displaying her favorite 60’s book and a poster that read “LOVE NOT WAR”. She captured students’ attention and sparked curiosity which had them on the library wanting to know more. Her outreach to the students is phenomenal and has brought many students to discover their love for reading. She is such a fun and warm soul that students and staff gravitate toward her for her wisdom. She does so much for us, and all of L.G. Pinkston would agree that Ms. Burnett should be awarded “Dallas Librarian of the Year” for 2015!

I believe Mrs. Burnett should receive librarian of the year because she is the most kind, sweet, and a very knowledgeable person I know. Mrs. Burnett has thought me the importance of reading; not many people including myself didn’t like to read but when I met Mrs. Burnett she change my mind about it.

I think Mrs. Burnett deserves to be recognized as the librarian of the year because she is an amazing librarian, who not only does everything to complete her tasks but takes the time to help students with anything they need and puts everyone else before herself. She has assisted me during my senior year and im so thankful because she has really made a huge impact on my life.

She is just the best seriously. The most kindest lady I’ve ever met in all my librarians in my lifetime. She deserves this.

Ms. Burnett Helps everyone around school when here help is needed. She is also very supportive when it comes to motivating the kids in our school.

Because she is the best, she’s very hard working and very devoted to her job. She’s always encouraging us to be better readers. She is a person who loves her job and really deserves this award.

She deserves to be librarian of the year because she is pure awesomeness!!!!!!!

My librarian deserves to be recognized because she is a hard-working, genuine and most importantly she is devoted to our success. She will go out of her way to make sure that we have all the materials we need to do whatever it is we are doing. Apart from being our librarian she Is also one of our NHS sponsors and a great remodel.

Ms. Burnett deserves this awards due to her kind service and intelligence of books. My librarian is the reason I started reading books. This year alone I have read Frankenstein, Uncle Toms Cabin, The Outsiders, and Stolen which are all greats books to read. Ms. Burnett can raise awareness for the importance of reading books and help students see that reading can be fun and enlightening.

Ms. Burnett is pure awesomeness!!!!!!

Mrs. Burnett is a hardworking I’ve learned to respect and admire as a mentor. She will take her time in order to help you out and achieve whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish whether its helping you find a book, request a book from another school, or another task that has no relation towards her duty as librarian. She is the nicest person and her personality is charming when you meet her you will wish you had known her before. Apart from being librarian she is also our NHS sponsor she is really involved with NHS and devoted towards helping us being better persons that I wonder who is this amazing person sent from god. There is so many more things that I could write an essay bout her.

Chelsea Wells

Chelsea Wells’ influence extends beyond her own campus, and her commitment to literacy is second-to-none. Chelsea’s TJ Wordsmiths creative writing group is a model for the district.

Pauline Martin

Pauline is a medical librarian for the staff at Children’s, but she always plans for the children different and creative ways to make library events available for them. She is a hard worker, but always available to help anyone who needs assistance.

Pauline advocates for literacy with our multicultural population making sure books are available and interesting to a variety of people. She increases access to information through a variety of media such as computer and ipad stations throughout the library. She enhances the library experience through innovative projects and ideas such as creative and interactive patient centered activities and story time.

Pauline deserves to be recognized because she truly exemplifies what it means to be a librarian. She is part of the Medical Library Association and is truly committed to providing patients with a library here at Children’s that feels like their hometown or school library. She incorporates fun, seasonal activities, as well as choosing themed weeks and building exciting opportunities for the kids around those books. Pauline has consistently been there to assist me when I needed a book or some supplies for my students. She has provided me with technological devices to assist in educating my students and even takes the time to troubleshoot in-person when I may be experiencing difficulties. Pauline is available day or night if she needs to be and has always maintained a level of honest and open communication as well as a friendly, can-do spirit.

Paulin is very conscientious about her job. She helps staff with medical research and works with the patients and families at the hospital to make their hospital experience pleasant. She passes on her joy of reading to the children.

I would like to nominate Phung (Pauline) Martin as Big D Reads Librarian of the Year. Phung is a Medical Librarian at Children’s Health – Children’s Medical Center, Dallas. I feel she deserves to be recognized, because she has passion for her position. She offers distinguished service and is an excellent model for others in the profession.
Phung is always thinking of creative ways to promote education in the library. Currently, she assists patients and families with a variety of things, such as: finding health information, books and magazines, educational programs, story time, crafts and the list goes on.
Mrs. Martin recognizes the importance of early literacy and family bonding, which is why it may seem so natural for her to interact and enhance the library experience for many. You can truly see her desire to enlighten others through her work ethic. She deserves this honor and so much more. I hope she continues to be a great impact for those that cross her path so they can witness the marvelous things she does, just as I have.

Albi Calman

She’s amazing and the kids love her. I like that she goes room to room sharing books and will even hold a reading story at the end of the hallway. I’m sure we don’t thank her enough, but she’s amazing!!!!!! She deserves this award!

Jill Bellomy

Jill Bellomy is the pied piper of librarians. Where she is, you’ll inevitably find a group of students or teachers or parents, and you can bet there will be talk of books and authors accompanied by laughter. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and her ideas to encourage students to enjoy books and reading are creative and fun. You may see her wearing a beret and organizing a poetry slam, hosting an author visit, or blogging about the dozens of books she reads each year to recommend to her students. Jill is savvy, she’s zany, and she’s #gotgrit.
Jill has served on the Texas Lone Star reading list sponsored by the Texas Library Association. She will soon begin an serving in an elected position on the prestigious Caldecott selection committee with the Association of Library Service to Children of the American Library Association.
Jill is the librarian that students will remember long after they have forgotten the names of the books she recommends that turn them into readers.

LaTari Thompson

LaTari deserves to be recognized because she is a hard worker. Loves to help people, serves her community, and is a team player. She is an excellent manager and all of her staff loves her. She is the manager at Polk-Wisdom Branch. LaTari does storytime, crafty Saturday, trainings, outreach and etc. She is the all around librarian.

Sharon Martin

She has taken a small library that was once run by the Friends organization and taken it to truly be a community library. They have programs for all ages and participate in the community activities. She is highly recognized with the city of University Park and both her staff and the community love her. She is one my favorite people and I know lots of others who can say the same thing!

Brian at Skillman Southwestern

I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know Brian’s last name. When I nominated him last year, I swore I’d correct that error as he deserves to be recognized. However, the year has passed, and I realized why I don’t know this detail- Brian makes my time in the library about me! From having my pile of books ready to easily engaging me in conversations about my catalog choices, my day, etc., Brian ensures that my experience is centered on me. While I’d like to say I’m flattered, I know Brian extends this professional courtesy to all of he library patrons. We have a very diverse neighborhood, and I’ve watched Brian patiently connect new patrons young and old to the extensive resources the library provides. This type of customized service is what a public resource an individual treasure. Again, ,any thanks to Brian and the Skillman Southwestern staff!

Paige Poe

Paige is a great children’s librarian, she always goes above and beyond on her children’s programs. She also has been doing double duty at another Dallas Public Library Branch as the Children’s’ Librarian. She always has crowds of kids.

Julio Velasquez

Julio is the most sincere, genuine person and the Dallas Library System is so lucky to have him. He is kind, innovative, and a true asset to any library system. He would make a wonderful Librarian of the Year because he sets a good example to other public staff to show kindness and compassion to the residents of Dallas.

Karen Harris

Karen Harris is an exceptional educator who is always focused on students and on making a positive difference on our campus and community. She exemplifies what a librarian should be beyond the library and reading initiatives. In addition to traditional librarian duties of promoting and managing a large library at an urban city campus with over 2,100 students, she is a true educator that works daily with our special education students. Ms. Harris has taken the initiative to write grants to support our special education students. She teaches daily lessons to students and is able to bring a smile to the faces of the students she interacts with on a daily basis. Ms. Harris has a caring heart and a love for teaching children. She continues to be an advocate for students and is also responsible for our campus website. On the website she is able to keep up with all the daily activities that are taking place on our calendar. In addition to sharing the great things that are happening on our campus, she keeps up with the Molina calendar, parent information pages, our site-based decision meeting agendas, and is part of the emergency operations team. Her influence extends beyond the walls of Molina High School to other librarians in the district and to our community. Attributes that you think about when you talk about Ms. Harris include: admirable, calm, caring, cheerful, humble, and selfless. Here are some specific examples on why Ms. Karen Harris is an exemplary person to be honored as librarian of the year.
* advocates for literacy, helping people at any age learn to read and encouraging everyone to find a good book.
– Partners with neighboring elementary schools to have high school students read to elementary students
– Tracks lexile levels and matches high school students with appropriate grade level books
– Leads campus initiatives that promote reading throughout the entire year
* increases access to information through a variety of media. He or she understands that ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge empowers.
– Comfortable with technology and manages two areas of the library with over 60 computers
– Develops all information for campus website and sets links that students can use for research and assistance with content
* enhances the library experience through innovative projects and ideas.
– Assisted in the conversion of part of our library into a “coffee bar” that allows students time to read and use hand-held technology to access information and continue learning
– Earned a masters in library services and incorporates innovative reading ideas that encourage students to read
– Advocate for having flexible library hours. Library is open as early as 7:00 AM and it remains open until 6:00 PM for student use
* expands the role of the library in the community.
– Holds community events that promote reading
– Library hosts monthly coffee with the principal meetings
– Reaches out to community members for career day and motivational speaking for our students

Jo Giudice

Mary Jo Giudice is the new (about 1 year) Director of the Dallas Public Library (DPL). She came through the ranks from Branch Manager, an Administrator and now Director. The things that impress me the most about “Jo” as she likes to be called, is her kind and open way with staff and customers alike. I’ve seen her moved from tears to glee at library events. She takes a grassroots approach, helping all, from her ideas on working with homeless customers to her support of big name programs. Despite her easy-going manner she’s not afraid to tackle hard issues either. She figures out ways to promote the Library from within and without. She’s brought a fresh and optimistic approach to work and play at DPL. Who could ask for more.

Sharon Forinash

Sharon has inspired the third through fifth graders to love science by having really great science programs and experiments. Sharon has caused our “Baby Bounce” story time to grow from 10-20 people attending to 60-100 depending on the story. The kids now WANT books as many as the Parents will let them checkout. She inspires us all to promote quality reading.

Deborah Rubin

Debbie has served as a librarian in the Dallas Public Library organization for many years and is currently the Branch Manager at Skillman Southwestern Library (SSL). She has demonstrated extreme knowledge and skill throughout her career. Debbie is always able to help patrons with any issue. She is committed to excellent customer service and also provides outstanding support to her staff and coworkers. Debbie initiated several efforts with the SSL Friends group that resulted in such items as new children’s furniture and updates to adult furniture, numerous children’s programs, senior acting workshops, new books, materials and equipment and many smaller improvements that benefit customers. Debbie conducts a well-attended and lively monthly book club that is open to all. Finally, Debbie is dedicated to her branch and to the Dallas Public Library as a whole. She deserves the recognition of Librarian of the Year.