Library Media Specialist, North Bergen High School, NJ
MLIS, Rutgers University, NJ, 2011
YALSA Teens’ Top Ten grant, 2014 and 2016; North Bergen High School Educational Services Professional of the Year award, 2016–17
Welz also reviews apps and books for School Library Journal
Photo by Melissa Welz
“I’m what you would hashtag #NeverNotWorking,” says Krista Welz, library media specialist at North Bergen High School. “I’m a 24-7 librarian.”
This might sound like exaggeration, but it reflects Welz’s all-in approach. Consider her response to finding out in summer 2014 that her school district was migrating that September to Google Apps for Education (GAFE, now called G Suite for Education): she immediately studied for and passed the certification exams to become a Google educator. “I wanted to make sure I was knowledgeable in GAFE so that I could teach/assist both teachers and students,” she says. After months of training teachers, she became a Google-certified trainer.
She took this training national with a September 2015 webinar for the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) on using G Suite apps as an everyday library management tool. (She’ll conduct another one for AASL this spring.) Locally, at the BELS (Bergen Electronic Library for Schools) library consortium, she provides website-building workshops and runs the site design mentoring program. She’s busy on social media, too, promoting the integration of educational technology in learning. One example is #NJLibChat, a twice-monthly Twitter chat she created.
Recently, she launched the nonprofit Edcamp Urban, which hosts an unconference organized and facilitated by K–12 educators. “I invited every school librarian I could find, along with the county’s school teachers and administrators,” she says of the inaugural event, held in October 2016. “The day was incredibly professional and engaging.” The next event is March 25.
At her own library, she increased annual circulation in her first year, 2013, by 97 percent. She also updated the 1960s-era collection and upgraded the outdated PCsto new Chromebase computers. When Welz won a James Patterson/Scholastic Reading Club award in 2016, she used that $5,000 to buy an 82″ HD monitor for the library.
She’s now pursuing her doctorate in educational technology leadership at New Jersey City University.
“Krista has a deep wealth of knowledge and is respected by the entire staff,” says George Solter, superintendent of schools at North Bergen. “The movement to blended learning has left some staff members very anxious, and Krista has supported [them in] the infusion of technology across the district.”