Wake County librarian recognized as best in the nation

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The Frances Henne Award is given to those who show great leadership. (WTVD)

A Wake County Public School librarian has won a national award which recognizes her as one of the best new librarians in the country.

She won the Frances Henne Award which is given to those who show great leadership, like Julie Stivers, of Raleigh's Mount Vernon Middle School.

"When someone tells me they don't like to read the first thing I say is 'I love to hear that,' because it feels like a challenge," Stivers said.

Stivers said she's all about creating a library space that truly reflects its readers.

For 13-year-old Nia Ellis, it's about comics.

"I like characters that are powerful but are relatable too," Ellis said.

Jose Gomez, 13, said poetry about basketball grabs his attention. He said they inspired him to write a tribute poem for a contest, winning him 3rd place.

"I like it a lot, I love it, (and) I'm really proud of myself," Gomez said of his poem.

Teachers feel that Stivers has a way of pairing students with topics that they'd be interested in.

"She finds these stories that mirror kids experiences and then also expand what they already know," seventh-grade science teacher, Beth Campbell said.

Stivers said "own voices" books are important for the authenticity. They're books where the author's identity matches up with that of the of the characters' in the book.

Her book choices have made a big difference, increasing circulation by 150 percent, making some students do an about-face.

"I hated reading," 12-year-old Jaida Morris said. "If you told me to read I'd literally hate you, and when I came here it was kind of like I didn't hate reading. (Now) I loved reading."

"I don't believe in readers and nonreaders," Stivers said. "I believe in readers and not yet readers."

"I think I read more books than I ever did in my whole lifetime," Morris said. "I love Ms. Stivers, she's like a mom to me."

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librarieswake county schoolsreadingchildrenRaleigh
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