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HHS Media Specialist named Idaho Librarian of the Year

POCATELLO — The Idaho Library Association recently named Melissa Nielsen as the Idaho School Librarian of the Year.

Ms. Nielsen is the Media Specialist at Highland High School. 

Ms. Nielsen has been employed at Highland for thirteen years. She taught for four years and has served in the library for the past nine years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education with an emphasis in history and a minor in library science, as well as a Master of educational technology, all from Idaho State University.

When asked what she loves most about her job, she wrote, “There is a lot to love about this job, but the most amazing thing is to get a reluctant reader to read a book off a recommendation and then have them come back for more.”

She also said that this award is very humbling to receive. She knows a lot of amazing school librarians, especially her colleagues in District 25. She said, “It feels great to be counted among my peers and it inspires me to do better.”

Ms. Nielsen was nominated for this award by her colleagues, Ms. Sarah May Clarkson and Ms. Stefanie Plato.

In her nomination letter, Ms. Clarkson noted that Ms. Nielsen’s work stands apart in four important ways: She is collaborative, creative, supportive and student-centered to her core.

She wrote, “Melissa successfully walks a bit of a tightrope that promotes the library as a place of learning, research, and hard work, but it is also a place where students feel comfortable, relaxed, productive, and respected. She models learning, high standards, good manners, effective problem-solving, and I have to believe that, by her example, students understand – any library – will always be a place they can go to have different needs met.”

Highland High School Principal, Brad Wallace, shared, “I have been blessed to work with and learn from Melissa Nielsen for more than seven years. She is a leader at the school, district, and state levels. Anything she is involved in benefits from her involvement. This award and recognition is well-deserved. We appreciate her tireless dedication.”

Ms. Nielsen received recognition for this award at the 2022 Idaho Library Association Annual Conference held on October 6-7. She was also recognized at the PCSD 25 Regular Board Meeting on October 18, as an individual who, through their actions, support and embody the district’s Mission to THINK MORE, LEARN MORE, and BE MORE TOGETHER.