Hillsides Librarian Sherri Ginsberg wins Prestigious award

Sherri Wins Prestigious 2016 I Love My Librarian Award

dsc_0489Ten years ago, when Sherri Ginsberg was hired as the Hillsides librarian, our library admittedly wasn’t much to brag about. A generous donor had funded a beautiful library space for the children at our school and in residence, but it was only used twice a week for after-school programs and only for the children who lived at Hillsides.

Sherri immediately went to work jumpstarting the library’s capability to create lasting change in the lives of the children. Her first task: to expand library services to our Hillsides Education Center. She devised a personalized library curriculum for each class based on the unique strengths and challenges of the students. Previously, many children had very little or no exposure to books. She then started what would become just one in a long line of enrichment activities for the children when she created a poets program where local poets come on campus to regularly read their works.

Over the years, Sherri has reached out to numerous organizations and nonprofits to bring unique programs into the library, such as the Young Storytellers Foundation, a LA nonprofit where children write short scripts and professional actors act them out; LA Create, where children create art out of recycled materials and other art projects; and Muse-ique, a Pasadena-based non-profit orchestra, which sends a performing artist to Hillsides at least once a month, exposing the children to the likes of opera singers, flutists, pianists, and cellists, and percussionists. In the last 10 years, Sherri has also brought in some 130 authors to speak to the children, including Henry Winkler, Marlee Matlin, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Laura Numeroff.

Sherri also spends hours going to book fairs, book festivals, and listening to author talks to learn about new books that the children would be interested in. She reads every book she places in the library – at a rate of 10- 20 a week — and she has built the library up to 11, 000 books. Along the way, the library has become a sanctuary for the children. At any time if a child is having difficulty, which is often, they can sit in the library quietly and read a book.

We already knew Sherri was a treasure, but now the entire nation knows. On Wednesday, Sherri was named a winner of the I Love My Librarian Award by the American Library Association. She is only one of 10 librarians in the country to receive this prestigious honor out of nearly 1,100 nominees.

Wednesday night, Sherri was honored at an awards ceremony and reception held in New York City. We were sorry not to be with her during her moment in the spotlight, but we were certainly thinking of her as she accepted the honor as one of the nation’s top librarians. We are incredibly grateful to her for not only transforming our library into the vital, healing place it is, but for transforming the lives of so many children. To learn more about Sherri and her incredible accomplishments, please visit our website.

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