Marla of Mercedes, Texas

1. How long have you known the nominee and how did you come to know him or her?
Lucy Hansen has been serving as Lead Librarian since 1998. She was in this position when I came to the district as Superintendent in 2001.  Throughout my tenure, Lucy has demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to the 2,436 predominantly Hispanic students, 200 teachers and staff members and countless parents and community members that use the resources of our Biblioteca Las Americas in Mercedes, Texas.

2. How has the nominee helped you and/or students at school?  For example, did the nominee help you with a project, recommend resources or collaborate with you to enhance student learning?
Lucy helps everyone at all the STISD campuses; she believes the library is for the entire school community and is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.
  
Busy teachers can count on Lucy to help them find the resources they need for their projects whether it is for a class project or for a university course they are attending after a long day at school.  Lucy is often seen with notebook and pen in hand as she runs errands or goes to meetings on campus – just in case she runs into someone with a request from the library.
  
Two collaborative projects of Lucy’s are excellent examples of how Lucy collaborates with teachers and students.  Lucy and the AP Biology teacher team teach advanced genetics research each year.  The class visits the library where Lucy demonstrates how to search several advanced scientific databases.  She spends the class period with the teacher assisting students one-on-one and they come back to her for help until their projects are complete.  Last year she assisted a teacher with the selection and purchase of classic novels in graphic format for academically challenged students.
  
Our library has been the beneficiary of several contracts from the National Library of Medicine that Lucy negotiated.  The funding from these contracts is used for a group of students to perform outreach and peer tutoring to medically underserved populations.  Lucy’s mentoring benefits the students in this group.  She follows their school progress and offers them tutoring so they can remain in the program and keep their grades up to her high standards.  Sometimes she simply listens to them.  She has mentored several of the graduates of this program and assisted them with independent research projects.
  
Former students frequently stop by to visit and thank her for the help she provided them, to get more advice, and even to say they wish they had been more grateful when they were enrolled here.

3. How has the library, and the nominee in particular, had an impact on students and the learning process?
It is not uncommon for Lucy to individually tutor students who need extra help with school work.  Two years ago she assisted a student who had just arrived from Mexico with no English skills.  There were many afternoons that student visited Lucy’s office looking for a friendly face and a comfortable place to practice her English.
  
Lucy considers it a top priority to meet the academic needs of the entire student population at STISD and strives to ensure that no needs go unmet. She has been one of the driving forces behind the acquisition of the Rosetta Stone language software for the district because she is adamant about affording our students every opportunity to advance in whatever areas they choose. 
  
When Lucy assists students in the library, even just to check out materials to them, she learns their names, asks them about their classes, offers to help with upcoming projects, and follows up.  She has developed close relationships with students over the years and her office is often the scene of spirited discussions and vivacious laughter.
  
Lucy believes it is important for the library to adhere to the same standards as the teaching staff.  She regularly meets with district library personnel and frequently conducts training sessions to keep everyone up to date on technology and library resources.  Her staff aims to follow those standards during library lessons.

4. How does the nominee make the school a better place? Please be specific.
Lucy makes our school district a better place by always looking for new and exciting opportunities for our students and staff.  She recruits students to perform concerts in the library at lunch time on Fridays and cheers the loudest for the rock and roll groups.  It is not uncommon for Lucy’s office to have drum sets stored there, and this past school year Lucy even went so far as to have the custodians clean out one of the library’s storage rooms to provide a place for student musicians to practice for an upcoming talent show at their campus.   
  
She has also hosted local authors and artists during lunch time offering students and staff the opportunity to gain cultural awareness of our rich Mexican-American heritage.
  
Another event in our district that Lucy is an integral part of is the annual health fair which is held in the library.  She enlists a variety of health care providers and organizations to come and share their expertise with our students.  Of the 400+ visitors to the health fair each year, on average 96% enjoy the fair and 91% find information important to them according to exit surveys.
  
Our library is one of the few school libraries that is never closed during school hours; it is one of the few school libraries that is open from 7:45 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day; and it is also a rarity because it is open for full service during summer school hours. 
  
Parents are also warmly regarded by Lucy.  She has ensured that families of students have library privileges and has furnished a space and materials for a Parenting Center in the library.  Lucy also warmly embraced the idea of a parent book club that was suggested last year and has been its biggest supporter.

5. How has the individual demonstrated leadership in the school community or the profession?
Lucy is member of many groups that impact the schools she serves and the services she provides:
  
   •    The District Leadership Team
   •    Campus Advisory Committees
   •    District Art Committee
   •    Rio Grande Valley Library Services
   •    American Library Association
   •    Texas Library Association
   •    Medical Librarians Association
   •    ¡VIVA! Peer Tutor Program
  
In addition to the committees and professional organization memberships, Lucy has been published in many journals and trade publications including, but not limited to:
  
“Collaboration as an Element of School Culture: Biblioteca Las Américas,” in Teacher Librarian (2006).
  
“High School Peer Tutors Teach MedlinePlus: A Model for Hispanic Outreach,” in Journal of the Medical Library Association (2005).
  
Lucy welcomes interns to the library and assists them by mentoring and providing meaningful experiences to them so they are prepared to enter the field of librarianship.

She also opens the library doors to professionals who want to study our library; it’s a really special place.  Dr. Barbara Immroth from the University of Texas spent several days visiting last year observing Lucy and the library.  Jody K. Howard, Library Consultant and President-elect of the Colorado Association of Libraries, spent a week gathering data on our library for her doctoral dissertation.  Lucy manages to accommodate all visitors cheerfully and enthusiastically.