Glenwood Elementary’s Leanne Dunbar has been named New Teacher Librarian of the Year.
The British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association (BCTLA) award honours outstanding contributions made by teacher-librarians with less than five years of experience in the role.
Previously a primary teacher, Dunbar switched to teacher-librarian at Glenwood in 2017 so she could focus on literacy development for all students at the school.
“What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to connect with our students over a book. I’ve found that helping students find a book that speaks to them makes them feel seen and important. Those moments are the best part,” Dunbar said.
Since starting her new position, Dunbar has worked tirelessly to transform the Glenwood library into the school’s hub – “a place where kids want to be.” To do that, she gave the library a complete makeover that included fresh paint, new furniture, a Maker Space section and redesigned kid-friendly shelving.
She was equally diligent in assembling a comprehensive book collection for the reimagined library and she continues to add high-interest titles to the shelves that resonate with all types of readers.
“It was really important to get a wide selection of reading materials so that every child can find a good-fit book,” said Dunbar.
These days, the library at Glenwood is the place where kids want to be to read or do homework and other activities.
“She opens the library before school, during lunch and recess, and after school so that kids always feel welcome… the kids come to the library in droves. They all love the library, and many spend time in the library on a daily basis,” said teacher Melissa Affleck, who worked with Dunbar for two years.
Dunbar, an original member of the SD42 District Literacy Committee and a school and district-level mentor, said she was surprised to learn that she had won the BCTLA award.
“I didn’t know I was nominated,” she said. “It was very encouraging because we’ve done so much to revitalize the library, and it was nice to get recognized.”
Anelma Brown, Glenwood principal, praised Dunbar’s passion for literacy and her commitment to ensuring students can and want to read.
“Leanne is a respected leader in our school. Her passion for literacy is infectious. She is always on the lookout for best fit books to foster the love of reading,” said Brown.
“She embraces every opportunity to celebrate diversity and has filled our library and our library’s website with interesting and relevant resources. When she doesn’t buy books, she buys shelves… and then she gets books to fill those shelves. She is consistently advocating for students, teachers and families, and ensuring on a daily basis that the Library Learning Commons is a safe, caring and educational place for everyone.”