Julie Stivers (MSLS’15), alumna of the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and current librarian at Mount Vernon Middle School in Wake County, N.C., has been named a 2019 “Mover & Shaker” by Library Journal. Click here to read the full profile.
Stivers is recognized for her success at revamping the school library’s collections and spaces to better reflect her students and their experiences, leading to a circulation increase of 150 percent. Her program, Key Foundations for Building Inclusive Libraries, or #LibFive, allows for collaboration between librarians and students to create a more inclusive library, collection, and instruction.
“The students and I began with research that found that many students of color felt like outsiders in their libraries and that it often seemed like a place that was ‘owned’ by the librarian,” Stivers said.
The #LibFive participants made student-centered recommendations after conducting action-based research, library walks, talking with other students, and brainstorming about what made a welcoming library.
In 2016, Stivers organized the #TrueBookFAIRS, now an annual event, where students get two books of their choice without having to pay. The books at this untraditional fair are purchased to reflect Stivers’s students, their histories, and interests. Books for younger family members are also available to celebrate family reading.
Stivers was the first school librarian to collaborate with SILS on the Susan Steinfirst Artist-in-Residency Program in 2016. She helped prepare 14 student writers from Mount Vernon for a week-long collaboration with Newbery Award-winning author Matt de la Peña.
Stivers received the 2017 American Association of School Librarians' Frances Henne Award. The award recognizes a school librarian with five or less years of experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers, and administrators. In 2018, she was one of five SILS Alumni chosen for the American Library Association Emerging Leaders program, which enables participants to contribute to problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure.
“The work she’s doing is both innovative and pragmatic,” said Allie Stevens, director at Calhoun Country Library, AR, and Stivers’s 2018 ALA Emerging Leader team member. “[It’s] useful to and replicable by school and public librarians across the country to create more inclusive, welcoming environments for students of color.”
Annually since 2002, Library Journal has chosen a class of innovative librarians and library staff members from an international pool of nearly 300 nominees. Many SILS alumni have been recognized on the list over the years, most recently Mara Thacker (MSLS '10) and Sara Trettin (MSLS ’13) in 2017, and Marian Fragola (MSLS’08) in 2018.