Devin Hodgins has been honored by the Wyoming Library Association as its “2019 Outstanding Librarian.” Devin is a Library Media Tech at Crest Hill Elementary in Natrona County School District 1. The award, presented to him on Thursday, August 8, at the WLA conference in Cheyenne, recognizes the significant and outstanding accomplishments of a library employee in the past year, including service to the public and/or library community. It is also meant to reflect the goals of WLA and the library profession as a whole.
Devin is clearly passionate about incorporating reading into the lives of his students and about building support for the school library his students so need. He was honored for finding an innovative way to bring his community together in support of his school library — so important in these days when school library programs are often threatened.
Inspired by what he learned when he attended the Wyoming Library Leadership Institute in 2018, Devin had his fifth graders create two Little Free Libraries — a robot and a dragon — that they auctioned and raffled to raise more than $400 for their Parent-Teacher Organization. As part of the project, the students investigated libraries and their impact on their communities. Each class had to work as a team to design and complete their libraries, through the school library’s makerspace.
He obtained a Carol McMurry Library Endowment grant through the Wyoming Community Foundation to purchase tools, paint, and supplies, as well as a handful of computers for students to use in the library for research. He rounded up additional supplies from local businesses including paint, shop supplies, and the old newspaper racks that would be filled with books once the Little Free Libraries were completed and out in the community.
What stood out about Devin was the way he fostered community involvement, bringing together the entire school, its stakeholders, and the wider community. For these reasons, the Wyoming Library Association named him this year’s Outstanding Librarian.