Auburn High School librarian, Beth Cuddy, named School Librarian of the Year by New York Library AssociationAuburn High School librarian Beth Cuddy has been named School Librarian of the Year.
The New York Library Association awarded the honor on Saturday, November 5, at its annual conference in Saratoga Springs.
Cuddy was nominated by colleagues from the South Central Regional Library Council and Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES for her leadership and professionalism, both in her handling of a challenged library book and through her work with Project Look Sharp, which seeks to help K-16 educators enhance students’ critical thinking, metacognition and civic engagement.
“When the book All Boys Aren’t Blue was formally challenged this year, Beth didn’t just participate in the review committee,” Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES School Library Systems Coordinator Penny Sweeney wrote in a letter to the committee, “She took an active role in providing resources, educating the committee on our values of access, democracy, diversity, intellectual freedom, professionalism, and social responsibility.”
The School Librarian of the Year award is given to a school librarian who has made a significant contribution by demonstrating the value of school libraries, enhancing the image of school librarians and/or school libraries, promoting an accessible and positive climate in the library, advancing community relations, or initiating a new library service or program.
Cuddy began her career with the Auburn Enlarged City School District at Seward Elementary School in January 2008. She assumed the role of high school librarian in September 2021.
“I thoroughly enjoy teaching media literacy skills, teaching students that there are many reasons people create media and how they can be critical consumers of information,” Cuddy said.
“Books are powerful,” Cuddy said in accepting the award. “Reading leads to thinking, which leads to questioning, and questioning can lead to challenging the status quo. In some states, we are seeing voices suppressed and stories silenced under the guise of ‘protecting children.’ We see that many of the books that are challenged center around characters who are LGBTQ or people of color.
“To paraphrase the historian Timothy Snyder, we are in battle, a battle between the facts of the vulnerable versus the feelings of the powerful. I will continue to support students' right to read as granted by the first amendment in the Constitution. Students need to see themselves in stories and see that their stories matter.”
“Our district and our students are fortunate that Beth is our high school librarian,” School Board President Ian Phillips said. “We are proud of Beth and congratulate her on this much-deserved honor.”