State Library recognizes 21st Century School Libraries

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PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota State Library has awarded the 21st Century School Library Award for 2024 to 18 school libraries. This annual award recognizes school libraries as Effective, Enhanced, or Exemplary based on performance in three areas:  educational programming available for students, physical and virtual learning environment, and professional qualifications of the staff.

"School libraries area fundamental part of a successful school,” said Sec. of Education Joe Graves. “They foster literacy for students of all ages, and they are a crucial part of the research process in all content areas. A well-stocked library staffed by people who love children and education promotes a culture of excellence that can be felt throughout the school.”

School libraries apply for the award by conducting a self-assessment and by providing evidence of their library’s qualifications. This year, 13 school libraries received Exemplary awards, and five libraries received Enhanced awards.

Awarded libraries will be honored at an event in Fall 2024; the award status is valid for a three-year period.

School libraries designated as Exemplary are as follows:

  • Brookings High School Library; Librarian Jean Kirschenman; Administrator Heather Miller-Cink
  • Flandreau Middle/High School Library; Librarian Lori Williams; Administrators Kristi Fischer and Brian Relf
  • Harrisburg East Middle School Library; Librarian Kailee Morgan; Administrator Micah Felser
  • Harrisburg Liberty Elementary School Library; Librarian Erin Oster; Administrator Aaron Weaver
  • Harrisburg South Middle School Library; Librarian Maria Pettinger; Administrator Darren Ellwein
  • Huron High School Library; Librarian Rachel Kary; Administrators Mike Radke and Linda Pietz
  • Sioux Falls Laura Wilder Elementary School Library; Librarian Jennifer Breidenback; Administrators Matt Semmler and Emily Tomkins
  • Sioux Falls Lincoln High School Library; Librarian Mary Peters; Administrator Laura Reeder
  • Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School Library; Librarian Michelle Clayberg; Administrator Tim Hazlett
  • Sioux Falls Terry Redlin Elementary School Library; Librarian Lindsey Rohde; Administrator Ryan DeGraff
  • Sioux Falls Washington High School Library; Librarian Kerri Smith; Administrator Kari Papke
  • Spearfish High School Library; Librarian Emily Benvenga; Administrator Joe Williams
  • Watertown High School Library; Librarian Kris O’Brien; Administrator Patty McClemans


School libraries designated as Enhanced are as follows:

  • Harrisburg Freshman Academy Library; Librarian Kristi Jones; Administrators Ryan Rollinger and Brad Seamer
  • Harrisburg Horizon Elementary School Library; Librarian Leslee Reiland; Administrator Lisa Garrett
  • Harrisburg North Middle School Library; Librarian Suzanne Tecklenburg; Administrator Brian Hartwig
  • Rapid City Stevens High School Library; Librarian Melissa Hubbell; Administrator Jocelyn Hafner
  • Watertown Middle School Library; Librarian Jalynn Feininger; Administrator Todd Brist


For more information, visit the State Library’s 21st Century School Library Award webpage.