TPS Librarian on Award Committee

Robinson Middle School Librarian Chosen For William Allen White Award Committee
Posted on 08/27/2021

A Topeka Public Schools librarian has been chosen to be on the William Allen White Awards Selection Committee.

 

Ms. Nicole Brokar, the library media specialist at Robinson Middle School, has been chosen to be on the William Allen White Awards Selection Committee. Her term begins in January 2022 and lasts for three years but she can hardly wait to get started. Her passion for literature, especially William Allen White (WAW) books, is unrivaled and she has shared this passion with the students and staff of Robinson Middle School. Because of Ms. Brokar, reading and engaging with stories and books has become part of the culture of Robinson Middle School.

 

Ms. Brokar has vast knowledge about WAW award winning books, authors, and the inspiration behind their stories that she shares with students. She frequently engages with authors to congratulate them, ask questions, or tell them how much she enjoyed their writing. Her love of reading and engagement with literature has spread beyond the library and has influenced the rest of the school too. For example, another teacher at Robinson encouraged her students to tweet questions to the author of the book they were reading at the time. The author in this case was not only willing to answer questions, but also volunteered to join the class’s Zoom call to discuss her book and answer their questions face-to-face. 

 

Ms. Brokar’s placement on the William Allen White Award selection committee and, in turn, her continued commitment to promote and encourage reading, not only sets an example for the students but benefits the school as whole. 

 

As a member of the selection committee, Ms. Brokar will have advanced knowledge of the books being considered; the books for each year are selected a year in advance so that committee members have time to read them before voting and selection occurs. This advanced knowledge will give Ms. Brokar insight into the interests of students and inform her of the topics and genres that will likely be popular the next year. 


The principal of Robinson Middle School, Tim Leffert, emphasized this benefit, explaining that her placement on the committee means that, “she can curate a selection at our school that obviously is going to be forward thinking and know what kids are already looking toward and I think that's really helpful.” For both Ms. Brokar and Mr. Leffert, it is important that students find something that they enjoy reading and with Ms. Brokar’s insight, they will be able to do that.


Ms. Brokar loves to see students engaged in reading and says that her favorite part about being a librarian is helping a student find a book that connects with them and, “seeing their eyes light up when they find a book or an author that they love.” 

 

She is a huge proponent of students being engaged with literature, which is one reason she especially loves WAW books. The William Allen White Awards give students a voice. Though a selections committee decides which books are considered for the award, students are the ones who decide who wins. Kansas students in grades 3-8 who have read at least two books on the selection list are able to vote and help decide which book wins the award. 

As a whole, Robinson Middle School, under the guidance of Ms. Brokar, has become a school centered around reading a discovery. They are focusing on teaching reading strategies and showing students stories that reflect real-life experiences and also stories that allow them to escape. Ms. Brokar and Mr. Leffert agree, whether a student wants to read a traditional book or a graphic novel, the importance is that they are reading something they can engage with and that they choose to read, not because they have to, but because they have fun. 

 

The students and staff at Robinson Middle School and the WAW award selection committee are lucky to have Ms. Brokar. 

 

Ms. Brokar, congratulations on your placement and thank you for the amazing work you do!


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