Association of Independent School Librarians

The AISL Above and Beyond program recognize the programs, successes, and contributions of AISL members to our organization, in their school communities, and in the library profession at large.

Do you know an AISL librarian who has gone above and beyond? Tell us about them here!

 Name & School  What they've been up to

Tinsley Silcox
(St. Mark's School of Texas, Dallas)

Tinsley Silcox, Director of Libraries and Information Services at St. Mark’s of Texas in Dallas presented a paper at the International Boys School Coalition (IBCS) virtual conference held in June 2021. You can find his presentation here.

Alexandria Brown (The Thatcher School, Ojai, CA) 

Alexandria Brown, Research Librarian at The Thatcher School, in addition to her regular library duties also presents and blogs on IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities in Education) in libraries. Here is an example of a blog post she wrote for Lee and Low and shared on the AISL listserv earlier this year.

 Cathy Leverkus (The Willows Community School, Culver City, CA)

Cathy Leverkus is a member of the ALA and AASL conference presentation review committees for 2020-2022, Recently, she submitted a literature review paper for publication, which documents the progress of world-wide digital reading comprehension research and pedagogy for the last ten years. At the AASL 2021 conference, a panel of Willows Community School administrators and Cathy will deliver a presentation on digital literacy and digital wellness collaboration and curriculum.

 Phoebe Warmack

(Woodberry Forest School,

Woodberry Forest, VA)

Phoebe Warmack, Director of the William H. White Jr. Library and Reynolds Family Learning Commons at Woodberry Forest School, who previously served six years on the AISL Board of Directors in the roles of Member-at-Large and Secretary as well as on the AASL Board of Directors as the Independent Schools Section Representative, is now serving as the Chair of the joint ALA and AASL Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award Committee as well as a member of the ALA Resolutions Committee. In addition, Phoebe is serving as the Chair of the AASL National School Library of the Year Award Committee.

 Trish Cislak

(Crescent School, Toronto, Canada)

In our all-boys private school, Trish is not only head of libraries but head of research. She works tirelessly in her efforts to give the students a platform. Some of her most outstanding work involves the creation of the Crescent Centre for Boys Education (CCBE), a centralized research location within the confines of the Upper School library. This year, she has again worked endlessly in her asset-building efforts for youth, especially the youth-led participatory action research project that will allow the students not only to embrace their own knowledge and expertise through research practices, but to experience the diversity of the world through travel. She spins so many plates; it is tiring just watching her. I would love to honour her and all the work that she does.
Laura Pearle, Reba Gordon, Autumn Sinai, Cathy Leverkus, Sarah Davis, Devorah Bader, Diana Holden, Christina Karvounis, Laura Doughty, Rayna Hyde-Lay, Vickie Rotherberg, Shelagh Straughan, Tricia deWinter, and Valeri Wallace This group of members comprised the planning committee for this year's virtual conference--AISL 2022: Emerge, Engage, Evolve. Their leadership and organization ensured a rich professional development opportunity for our membership.

 Dorcas Hand

(Houston, TX -- retired)

Dorcas serves in the following capacities: • Board member to the Freedom to Read Foundation • Member FTRF Board committee planning a Symposium for July 12-13 online entitled Where Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice Meet: A Call to Action (2 half days) • Liaison from FTRF to the OIF Working Group on Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice • The Texas Chapter Councilor to ALA • TXLA Executive Board • Co-coordinator of the TXLA Intellectual Freedom Helpline • Co-chair, Students Need Libraries in HISD (Houston), a grassroots advocacy group to get HISD to reinstate librarians as standard staff for every campus.

Reba Gordon

(Lake Highland Preparatory School,

Orlando, FL) 

Reba's passion for reading is contagious! Whenever the students can't find a book that sparks their interest, she will help them discover one that will blow their minds. Students use the library as a safe place to escape, get something off their chest, or simply to change scenery. Her library is not only a refuge for avid readers, but it is also a safe place for students to escape. Reba cofacilitates a digital literacy course for middle school students. Her lessons on information literacy are not only relevant to students in today's world but tie directly into her classroom experiences. This empowers students as they take their first online course. Through visiting classrooms and working with teachers on research skills, Reba brings the library out of the building. With her expertise on Noodle Tools, she has been able to bring our 6th and 7th grades together - not an easy feat since they are on two different campuses! Reba is sharing her knowledge of branding with the two other libraries on our campus so that we can increase readership and make the library the hub for learning on campus. Libraries are not only quiet spaces, but they're also places for collaboration. In-person and virtually, Reba's LIVE From the Stacks author events connect authors with students. Reba shares her experiences and ideas with others outside of school by guest blogging for library associations on hot topics in her library. Even with all of this, Reba still finds time to present at local and national conferences in person and virtually, not to mention co-chairing AISL 2022. In all her activities to demonstrate her love of reading and all things libraries, Reba is committed to strengthening literacy, research, and information fluency.

Association of Independent School Librarians

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