Diane Mokuau, librarian at Molokai High and Intermediate since 2002, has been selected as a 2021 School Librarian of the Year along with Amanda Jones, teacher librarian at Live Oak Middle School in Louisiana. This is the sixth year that School Library Journal has presented this award that is sponsored by Scholastic Book Fairs. The award recognizes K-12 school library professionals for outstanding achievement and exemplary use of technology and services to foster multiple literacies. Diane is a proud LIS alumna.
She not only serves as librarian at her school but she also created the Molokai College and Career Tour Club that helps students visit the East and West coasts for college tours. This annual activity (on hold during the pandemic) has made students and their families, who have never left the small island, realize they are capable of going to college. Diane said, “I want our students to realize that the world is bigger than our island.”
Diane is also credited with growing the Molokai Services Cadre, comprised of librarians, a principal, and staff from public, school, and Native Hawaiian libraries. It started as an informal group gathering for meals and social sharing but it soon blossomed into a working ohana of professionals. The cohort support one another in a range of activities including weeding collections, sharing technology resources, and exchanging programs across the island.
From 2014 through 2019, Diane coauthored a million dollar grant from the federal government to develop the Molokai LIVE21st Century Learning Center, which provides homework assistance and enrichment activities to middle school students. Her latest effort in 2020 resulted in a $10,000 DOE Innovation grant to buy Kindles for elementary students and get high school students to serve as readers for elementary programs.
For decades, Diane has also connected her students with environmental initiatives. She has collaborated with the ecological nonprofit Molokai Cares to promote stewardship and recycling and encouraged students to embrace the value of malama aina, caring for the land. Diane jointly established Molokai’s Earth Day celebration with local partners and schools. She is currently spearheading a grant application to preserve the island’s history through maps and other resources.
As one of the winners this year, Diane received a $2,500 cash award and $2,500 in-kind digital and/or print products from Scholastic along with a Scholastic Book Fair’s special collection of books, and a book giveaway for every student in the school.