Summer Reading, Analyzed
Public Services Manager
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, KS
MLS, Emporia State University, 2000
Kansas Library Association Education Foundation (KLAEF)
As chair of the Big Read—Topeka (2006–present), testified before the U.S Congressional Appropriations Committee on behalf of the program
Photo by Amy Miller Photography
Always proactive in her approach to library work, Marie Pyko is dedicated to redefining the librarian’s role from “holder of stuff” to responder to changing information needs.
A big believer in data-driven results, Pyko saw a way to connect the dots between scores used in her son’s Accelerated Reader program and the impact of Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s (T&SCPL) summer reading activity. Believing that “it is not about doing something just because it feels good—we need to be able to measure it, to assure it enhances the quality of life for our community,” Pyko collaborated with local school media specialists to measure before and after summer reading scores, demonstrating that more than 80 percent of summer readers improved or maintained reading levels. This effort has expanded to three school districts, with another coming on board in 2012. And the schools are not alone in their efforts. Robert Banks, T&SCPL COO, explains that as a Leadership Topeka graduate and mentor and literacy chair for the local branch of Rotary International, Pyko has enlisted community and business leaders who help her in uncovering similar needed data.
Pyko began her career improving library services for seniors and now covers to all ages. She also mentors professional staff, coaching them to take risks.“The reimagining of the roles of librarians has been the greatest and most rewarding challenge to me in my recent career,” says Pyko.
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