Thanks to Kentucky’s School Librarians

“I’ve got her!” the firefighter said into his radio, speaking of the unaccounted for third grade girl.

The little girl had gone back into Cassidy Elementary following an evacuation due to a bomb threat, for—of all things—her library book. That third grade girl was me. (Yes, I know. I’m sorry. Very, very sorry.)

But my passion for books and libraries and librarians began early, thanks to the librarians of Kentucky. It is thanks to them, once again, that that very same little girl got to bring The Kentucky Bluegrass Award home to The Bluegrass State this week, for her novel, The Thing About Leftovers, in the 6-8 grade category. Here are all the winners:

Over 56,000 students across the state of Kentucky read multiple books—they can’t vote if they only read one—and voted in the KBAs this year, which is a testament to our school librarians. Without those librarians, even the best books just sit on shelves collecting dust. But with them, our students get excited about reading! And they did!

But I have so much more to thank Kentucky’s librarians for: Thanks to them, I have never once been alone in life. No, I’ve always had friends—a whole cast of interesting characters—in my purse.

Thanks to them, I’ve almost always had a place to hide: the library.

And I shared my secret hiding place with my daughter, Laurel Grace, who also often hid in the library throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school. She even earned the title of “Library Assistant.” Laurel’s first friend at Kentucky Christian University was Naulayne Enders, the librarian—of course!

And this year, as I’ve traveled throughout the state, my love for our school librarians has only grown. They do so much more than read aloud and book-talk, and help students with resources. I’ve watched them feed kids, intellectually, emotionally, and physically. I’ve seen them stand up and right wrongs. I’ve seen them sit down and just listen when they don’t have time to sit and listen. In the simplest terms, I’ve watched them love our students without saying “I love you.” But they do. Oh, they do. So, although I know it isn’t enough, I gratefully share this KBA with each and every librarian in the state of Kentucky. And with my whole heart I say, thank you.

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