2007-05-11 / Community

Far Rockaway High School Library Receives 'Giant Step' Award

Far Rockaway High School's library was a co-winner in the 2007 Giant Step Award, sponsored by the

School Library Journal in partnership with Thomson Gale, part of Thomson Learning.

Launched in 2000, the Giant Step Award recognizes a school that has significantly improved its programs or service sand great impacted student learning and achievement. The high school will be presented with a $5,000 check during an award ceremony during the American Libraries Association's annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Since arriving in October of 2005, media specialist Geri Ellner completely revamped Far Rockaway High School's media center, turning it from a room that was largely closed to students to a highly trafficked location that students turn to for technology, good books, and good advice.

During her two short years at Far Rockaway, Ellner has maintained a library with more than 5,000 books, automated the filing system, launched a monthly newsletter and created a media center website. For the first time, the school's library has WiFi, 17 computers, audiobooks, and magazines.

The library's circulation numbers speak for themselves; 1,400 items were checked out this school year, up from a mere 97 items in the first three months Ellner came on board. On any given school day, an average of six classes pass through the library. Dozens more students request special passes or stop by between classes to take advantage of the extensive collection.

Many say that if it wasn't for Ellner, Far Rockaway High School would have no library to speak of.

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