Floyd Municipal Schools librarian Judy Chandler was perhaps more surprised than anyone when she was recently told the school was the winner of the New Mexico Outstanding Elementary School Library of the Year Award.
The award is given by the Advocacy for School Libraries Special Interest Group, part of the New Mexico Library Association.
“The first thing I did was went and found Mr. Terry (elementary school principal) and I could hardly tell him I had won because I was so choked up,” Chandler said. “I could hardly believe it.”
Chandler said she didn’t know the school nominated her or that the award even existed. It is one of two such awards issued each year, the other being an award for middle and high school libraries.
“Though she is employed as the “school librarian” she is much more to students and staff, alike,” wrote Paul Benoit, superintendent of Floyd schools, in his nomination letter.
Chandler teaches an elementary school art class, a seventh-grade creative writing class, a fifth-grade tutorial class and is about to begin working as a reading tutor for students each afternoon.
“She’s amazing with art projects. She ties them in with books to make stories come to life,” said Monica Gibson, a fifth-grade teacher. “I’d definitely say she’s an essential part of our school.”
Gibson said Chandler is an amazing librarian because she not only keeps the library organized but she teaches the kids about books and how books are organized and why.
“She’s kind. She helps us,” said Megan Richerson, a fourth-grade student. “She’s an all around good teacher.”
Adalee Alvarez, a third-grade student, said Chandler helps students to be better readers and to read as if it is real life.
“I think she’s a great librarian,” Alvarez said. “Especially when she reads to us. She reads to us with great expression.”
Chandler said although she is kept busy with her multiple jobs at the school, she loves doing all of it, whether organizing books or coming up new with art projects.
“In a small school, you have to do so much more than just your one job,” Chandler said. “I’m honored that the staff would go to the trouble to nominate me.”
Chandler’s award includes a $500 check for the Floyd Municipal Schools’ library and a one-year membership to the New Mexico Library Association.