Congratulations, Aileen and Beth!

School Librarians Aileen Basuljevic and Beth Green are Certified Sustainable

Photo of Aileen and Beth at NYLA SSL Conference May 2022
Newly Certified Sustainable School Librarians, Beth Green and Aileen Basuljevic

We are thrilled to be celebrating the certification of two, TWO!, School Librarians in our Certification Program. Beth Green and Aileen Basuljevic are middle school librarians in the Wappingers Central School District. They have been collaborating for many years to keep the two middle schools, Wappingers Junior High School and Van Wyck Junior High School, as similar as possible. Completing this certification program allowed the duo to have another project to work on together. Beth and Aileen each completed their own work towards certification, but were able to benefit from the added support of a close peer working towards this goal at the same time. The School Librarian Certification Program stood out in its alignment with their passions and as another way to keep their library programs relevant to their school community. 

Beth and Aileen work together to create monthly presentations with new books, made available to students through their Google Classrooms and library catalog. Beth has seen an increase in checkouts of the recommended books and the students have enjoyed the bitmoji characters of their librarians on the slides. They have both completed diversity audits of their collections and are conscious of providing representation of many different nationalities, abilities, and cultures to their students. They also work together to compile a summer reading list that is shared with the English Language Arts (ELA) departments and District ELA Coordinator. This year they also created an additional list with newer books that have more diverse characters. Their district coordinator purchased many copies of books on their created list to be made available for classroom book clubs. 

Photo of students working on magnetic puzzle
Students work on a magnetic puzzle at Van Wyck Junior High School

Beth and Aileen are both focused on being approachable and receptive to students and teachers in their buildings. Throughout the work that she documented for her certification, Beth emphasized that the library is a student-centered space that is welcome to all. She is seen as a trusted adult to bring their problems to and the library as a place to go when students need help. Aileen uses signs on the door to reassure her students that the library is a safe space that is welcome to all. During the pandemic, she delivered books to her students when they made requests. This extra step ensured access to reading for all of her students and surely made an impact.  

Both have become more aware of the amount of “stuff” that they use with students in the library. Aileen has set a goal to use recycled materials in the Makerspace area and in her STEAM lessons. She uses discarded books for the students to create blackout poetry. Beth has limited her print of coloring sheets and stickers. She is limiting the number of printouts and reusing the extras as art supplies, hall passes, and scrap paper. 

The work towards becoming certified helped Beth see that despite her hard work, enthusiasm, and availability, there were still many teachers that were not bringing their classes to the library. Through the active and reflective work that she has done this year, she was able to devise a strategy to expand her outreach this coming year. She has created an online (and paper) collaborative form to make it easier for teachers to share their plans with her.

The hard work and self reflection that Aileen and Beth displayed as part of their certification process have led to measured improvements in circulation, student engagement, and in the identification and creation of goals for the coming school year and beyond. We look forward to their continued engagement with the Sustainable Libraries Initiative and celebrating their future success.

Aileen Basuljevic displays the monthly book crate from Scholastic
Aileen Basuljevic displays a monthly book crate from Scholastic

Read more in the press release announcing their certification.