Mix a Bachelor’s in English, a Master’s in Public Administration and a Master’s in Information Studies – School Media and what do you get? The recipe for a fantastic librarian, like iSchool alumna Jennifer Underhill, the School Librarian at Florida State University Schools – the Developmental Research School at Florida State University.
Since 2007, Underhill has supervised the K-12 school’s library and all library programs. With two full-time library assistants under her supervision, she teaches classes to all grades on reading strategies, information literacy skills and more.
“There are so many great moments at school, but the best moments are those when a student who has been a reluctant reader tells me that they loved a book they’ve just read,” she shared. “Or when a high school student who said that doing research is boring comes in to tell me they actually enjoyed doing research and did well on a paper.”
In April, Underhill is hosting the Sunshine State Young Reader’s pizza voting party at FSUS, where students vote for their favorite Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award (SSYRA) book. Underhill serves as the chair for the SSYRA Committee, which is a statewide reading program for students in grades 3-8 and is sponsored by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Association for Media in Education. Each year, the SSYRA committee nominates 15 books for students in grades 3-5 and 15 books for students in grades 6-8. Florida students who read at least 3 of the books are eligible to vote for their favorite in the spring. The authors of the elementary and middle school books that get the most votes win the SSYRA Award, which they accept at the FAME Annual Conference in the fall. Past winning authors have said that winning the SSYRA Award is very meaningful because it is voted on by the students.