Adjunct Lecturer Ruth Shasteen (CAS '13) has received the 2018 Polestar Award from the Association of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE) for her contributions to school librarianship. Shasteen served as district librarian at Neoga CUSD and high school librarian at Central A&M High School in Moweaqua, both in the state of Illinois. In addition to being a school librarian, she also taught for many years in Illinois classrooms at Sullivan Jr. High School, Sullivan High School, and Bethany Jr-Sr. High School.
"At Neoga, Ruth shared her passion for all types of literacies and shed a voluminous light on library studies and what a library could be. Under her direction and tireless efforts, our libraries—three at the time—became working models of Information Power," said Alicia Manuel Kessler, technology coordinator at Neoga CUSD #3.
Since retiring as a school librarian in 2012, Shasteen has continued to leave her mark on the profession, teaching graduate-level courses to future school librarians at the University of Illinois and Illinois State University. At the iSchool, she currently teaches School Library Media Center (IS 516AO) and Cataloging for School Libraries (IS 590CB1). She also co-teaches practicum and student teaching seminars and supervises student teachers in field placements in school libraries.
"As a school librarian, Ruth has influenced the lives of countless students. She has then gone on to teach others how to be school librarians—causing a ripple effect to provide even more children with high quality school libraries. In addition, her role in AISLE and other committees has influenced how we define quality library programs in Illinois," said Christy Semande, librarian at Canton Union School District #66, who nominated Shasteen for the award.
Shasteen has served on numerous AISLE committees and task forces and has co-chaired the newest version of Linking for Learning, which connects school library media programs to core curriculum, information literacy, and the Illinois Learning Standards.
Georgeann Burch, former iSchool K-12 coordinator who retired in 2016, noted in her letter of support the significant impact of Shasteen's career on librarians and students. "She has truly helped shape Illinois school libraries to be student focused, welcoming places, no matter what the space looks like or the resources that are available. Ruth Shasteen is truly deserving of the ISLMA/AISLE Polestar Award, as one person who has definitely 'made outstanding contributions to school library media programs in Illinois.'"
Shasteen received the award on November 2 at the AISLE Annual Conference in Tinley Park.