Maine Association of School Libraries


We will be launching our new Support Staff Award on November 2nd and making the forms for the Walter J. Taranko Award live so that anyone interested in nominating a candidate for these awards can begin the process.  We hope you have someone in mind and will take advantage of this opportunity to highlight the excellent work done by the library staff in your school or district.


MASL Administrator of the Year Award

MASL Support Staff Award

Walter J. Taranko Award



  MASL Administrator Award

Like MASL's other awards the Administrator Award was instituted to recognize excellence and support for improved school library programs in Maine schools.   Specifically this award recognizes the contributions of school administrators toward that goal and seeks to encourage other administrators to acknowledge the vital nature of school library programs and staff to the improvement of student learning for all students.

 Administrator Nomination Form



 MASL Library Support Staff Award

Instituted in 2013 to highlight the often unsung work of support staffers in Maine's school libraries the MASL Library Support Staff of the Year Award is intended to honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to their local school library media program  and/or demonstrated commitment to those effort at the state level.


Support Staff Award Nomination Form


 Walter J. Taranko Award

In 1979 the Maine Educational Media Association (MASL's antecedent) began recognizing excellence in school library work with the launch of their School Library Media Specialist of the Year Award.  From the beginning Walt Taranko, Coordinator of School Library Services at Department of Education/Maine State Library, was in integral part of the process helping to guide and shape the celebration of school library excellence as he did through his job at MDOE.  In 2000 just a year before his untimely death from cancer the Maine Association of School Libraries (MEMA's new name) renamed this important award in Walt's honor and celebrated his contributions as they presented the first Walter J. Taranko Library Media Specialist of the Year Award to Dr. Tamara Blesh at the 2000 Maine Libraries Conference held in Augusta, ME.  Walter was present that day and enjoyed every minute of this celebration.

A bit about Walt- 

Walt was a friend of school librarians; mentoring new school librarians, helping to clarify their roles in schools, and streamlining the certification process.  He was a strong advocate for having certified school librarians in all schools.  Walter was the driving force in bringing the Clarion University and the University of South Carolina library programs to the state.  Many, many of the librarians in Maine are beneficiaries of these programs.  We all own a debt of gratitude to the foresight and leadership of Walt Taranko.

The Walter J Taranko Award (WJT Award) is given in recognition of excellence in school library work within the State of Maine.  It is given to honor a school librarian who embodies the qualities that Walter represented.  We recognize and value mentoring, outreach, collaboration, advocacy - all of which were traits that Walt represented and embodied in his 25+ years as the State Library liaison to DOE.  Walter valued the benefits that membership in professional organizations and was a strong supporter of MASL and MEMA before it.

The WJT award is presented annually to a deserving candidate.  The presentation includes a placque and cash award to the school library of the winner.

WJT Award Nomination Form






























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