Work in creating diversity leads to honor for schools' media specialist

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Angela Wojtecki, the Nordonia Hills District library media specialist/technology integrationist, stands inside the library at Nordonia High School with a few of the new nonfiction books she added to the library's content. She is pictured in front of a mural painted by students.

MACEDONIA -- A media specialist with the Nordonia Hills City Schools was recently honored by the Ohio Educational Library Media Association for her work in creating diversity in the school's non-fiction collection.

Angela Wojtecki, the district's library media specialist and technology integrationist, received the Rosen Publishing Ohio School Librarian of the Month Award in February. Wojtecki said that she received a set of nonfiction materials from Rosen Publishing for the school library. 

"I was not expecting it," she said, adding she knew she was nominated for the award but did not know who nominated her. 

In addition to the books from Rosen Publishing, Wojtecki said she was invited to the OELMA conference in October where she will receive an award. 

"With COVID happening, a lot of stuff has changed with how my daily work was going, so I wanted to focus on updating our nonfiction collection," Wojtecki said. "I wanted to include more diverse authors and more diverse topics in our high school. My schedule changed due to COVID so I had time to look at the collection to see what I could add."

One aspect Wojtecki said she concentrated on were biographies "focusing on diversity within diversity." One example she gave was a Latina character dealing with immigration. 

"Personal stories on immigration, these are topics that our students may not have much experience with," she said.

Another example was an autobiography on Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wojtecki said. 

"He talks about how, because he was biracial, he was not accepted where he lived," she said. "It was a really interesting outlook. What's nice about that one is that they have a young adult edition, which is very helpful too, because it breaks things down a bit better for the students."

Nonfiction "is a constantly changing kind of area, especially with diverse authors," Wojtecki said. 

"It's an ongoing job," she said. "Teachers are looking for recommendations and collaborations, and new books are coming out left and right."

Another focus was getting rid of outdated material, Wojtecki said. 

"We have drastically changed our medical books for research projects," she said. "Our goal is to offer our students more opportunities to get a global perspective of the world. That is really important for the world we live in today."

The Rosen Librarian of the Month, a new recognition from OELMA, is awarded monthly, according to information from OELMA, which has its offices in Hudson. 

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com