University Libraries’ Mary Schoenborn and Lynn Skupeko were awarded the 2014 Librarian/Media Specialists of Merit at the State History Day Award Ceremony on May 3.
The two were honored for making a difference in the lives of kids through History Day, said Tim Hoogland, coordinator of History Day in Minnesota and manager of education outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society.
“No library professionals are more deserving of this award,” Hoogland said to Schoenborn and Skupeko at the event. “You have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to help kids. Wilson library is becoming an agent of academic change because of your efforts.”
This award has traditionally gone to school media specialists but it became clear to organizers that after the years of service that Schoenborn and Skupeko have dedicated to History Day, it was more than appropriate to ecognize them with this award.
University Libraries a national model
Over the past five to eight years more than 25,000 middle and high school students have been served at Wilson Library, as part of History Day activities. Hoogland said that the Wilson Library team at University Libraries has become the national model for connecting campus library resources to the K-12 History Day community.
“Our research shows that all academic outcomes for History Day go up when students visit academic libraries,” Hoogland said. “Mary and Lynn have worked with us to create unique service models like Field Trips and the “Gopherbaloo” research open house that serve as gateway experiences for students to connect with the U of M. Many of these students are coming from urban and rural schools and these efforts go a long way at breaking down equity and achievement gaps.”
Schoenborn added that Minitex, a joint program of the Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota, plays a central role in the overall success of the History Day program.
Minitex librarians visits schools and teach students about the research process, the catalog, Libraries collections, and basic databases before they come to Wilson to do their actual research. “Thanks to Minitex, students come to the Libraries ‘research ready,'” Schoenborn said.
Hoogland said that the Minnesota Historical Society is sharing the “Wilson” model with other state programs. “My colleagues are truly amazed at how this all comes together,” he said.
Joy Kirchner, Associate University Librarian for Content and Collections, congratulated Skupeko and Schoenborn for winning this award.
“We deeply appreciate your efforts with History Day and the difference you are making to the community, and for promoting the Libraries in such a positive way,” Kirchner said.
Students honored May 7 at Wilson
Camryn Franke and Kaitlyn Nguyen, 7th graders from Washington Secondary Complex, were on hand May 7 with their completed History Day project for a celebration at Wilson Library. Their school visited Wilson Library in preparing for the History Day competition.
“Reviewing their process paper – which includes the list of primary and secondary sources they used in their research – shows extensive use of our collections,” Schoenborn said. She added that the teacher and the students were thrilled to have “such tremendous access” to University Libraries materials and the teacher, Steve Cox, said he would return to Wilson next year with his new group of 7th graders.