Librarians We Love: Robbie Reasoner

by Lara Neel, Trade Marketing Manager

This week, we are kicking off a new feature on our blog: Librarians We Love. We wanted to have a dedicated way to share some of the great ideas, hard work, and innovative thinking we encounter whenever we connect with librarians.

Robbie Reasoner is the Coordinator for the Evaluation and Selection of Instructional Materials and Library Books of School Library Media Programs for the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.

Robbie’s Librarians We Love nomination came with these recommendations:

Why we love Robbie:

  • Has a wealth of experience and great depth of knowledge about school libraries.
  • Committed to serving all 161,000 kids in her school system.
  • Enthusiastic about the latest trends in school library books (women, diversity, STEM topics).

I reached out to Robbie to see if she had any projects she wanted to share, and she lived up to her nomination!

“I am excited that for the third year in a row, we will be able to provide all 206 schools in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) with a shared collection of digital titles from OverDrive. This project began two years ago when the School Library Media Programs (SLMP) leadership staff wanted to encourage school library media specialists to enhance their print collections with digital titles so students could have equitable access and choices beyond the traditional school day. We also wanted to supplement school library collections with digital titles that would take advantage of the district Chromebook initiative as it continued to impact the amount of time students were in the school library media center.

We began the first year with approximately 200 titles per level – Elementary, Middle and High – and we focus on diverse books that reflect the SLMP commitment to providing opportunities for our students to experience literature from the windows, mirrors and bridges perspectives. We purchase the ALA award titles as well as many diverse national award titles.  We support our state-wide Black-Eyed-Susan reading award program by purchasing digital copies of all the nominated titles, and our Middle School Book Wars program as well with digital copies of those books. We continue those commitments each year and last year we expanded to purchase 100 titles in a shared Professional Collection for our teachers and staff of MCPS. Now in the third year, the schools will have access to over 1000 digital titles across the district.

As an integral part of the project, we work with OverDrive staff to provide training for the media specialists so they can teach their students and staff how to access the titles and enjoy this new reading experience. With the roll-out of the OverDrive Sora App for students, we now see more and more students downloading and using the App on both school and personal devices.  This past month we were lucky to have the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile make three stops in MCPS on their national route and were able to showcase Sora for over 1200 elementary, middle and high school students during the week.

What I am most excited and proud of in this project is that the SLMP team took this out-of-the-box idea and committed to it on a district level to provide all our students with additional options for access to high-quality, diverse titles. We also encourage the individual media specialists to create their own school accounts and many have supplemented the district shared collections with hundreds more titles for their students to enjoy at their school level.”

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that, Robbie!

p.s. – Is there a librarian YOU love that we should know about? Please email me at lneel@lernerbooks.com and include “Librarians We Love” in the subject line.

More posts by Lara Neel.

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