New England 
School Library Association
 Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut   

Elizabeth T. Fast Award




Betty Fast was never afraid to strike out in a new direction, to take a new road where others might hesitate to follow. She gave of herself to her family, to her community, to her profession, to all who knew and worked with her---but most especially to her friends---and never counted the cost.

So wrote Dr. Thomas J. Galvin in a tribute to Betty in 1977.  Betty was an assertive advocate for the improvement of school library services to students at the community, state, New England and national levels. She understood and was involved in defining the role of the school librarian.


On June 16, 1977, Elizabeth T. Fast died of cancer at forty-six years of age, courageously insisting to the last on living both her personal and professional lives to the fullest. Beginning as lay chairperson of the Groton, Connecticut School Library Advisory committee in 1960, she ultimately became the principal architect of that school district’s AAS/Encyclopedia Britannica Award winning school media program.

She was a member of the Executive Board of the American Library Association, First Vice President of the Connecticut School Library Association and distinguished herself as media specialist and Director of a unified district educational media program. In 1975, she was the recipient of the Connecticut Educational Media Association’s Rheta A. Clark award of merit “for outstanding librarianship and devotion to the profession.” In 1977 she was awarded the Grolier Foundation Award “for sharing with her colleagues new ideas for better library service.”


The purpose of this award is to acknowledge the contributions of professionals outstanding in the profession of school library services. The New England School Library Association seeks to recognize school library professionals whose dedication, creativity, adaptive programming,       political advocacy, research, management, and work with students have had a significant impact on the profession in New England.


A nominee or applicant should meet one of the following criteria and have been a member in good standing in the New England School Library Association for at least the immediate past three years:

•  Demonstrated significant leadership in professional political advocacy for school library services within the New England states.

•  Made significant contribution to research in school library services with implications for the New England states.

•  Demonstrated significant leadership in the development of effective administrative management structures in school library services with the New England states.

•  Made significant contribution to the professional literature of school library services.

•  Developed or adapted creative student-centered school library service program with professional implications for other school systems in New England.

•  Made significant contribution(s) to the school library profession through academic instruction of future professionals.

Recognition will be made of the individual’s personal and professional efforts rather than recognizing the accomplishments of a school district.


The Elizabeth T. Fast Award, made during any one year, recognizes the personal and professional efforts of an individual’s contribution to the advancement and improvement of the school library profession in the New England region.

Nominations of any professionally significant accomplishment may be made by any NESLA member who is familiar with the nominee’s qualifications and accomplishments.

A nominee or applicant must be or have been certified as a school library practitioner by the New England state in which the nominee or applicant practiced at the time of the accomplishment.

  •  The name of a nominee or applicant from a New England state shall be submitted to the chairperson of the NESLA Awards Committee no later than February 1st.

  •  Application, a Google form, shall be sent to NESLA and send the following in an additional separate email to

  1. A letter from the nominator
  2. Two additional letters from local or New England state colleagues documenting the nominee's accomplishments and impact.

  •  The Chairperson of the Awards Committee shall submit to the NESLA Executive board, the nominees which the Committee has certified as meeting the above criteria.

  •  The NESLA Executive Board shall determine which of the nominees or applicants shall receive the award and the number of awards to be made in any one year.

  •   Judgments of the voting Board members shall be based solely upon written nominations and related written documentation.  


2015 -  Judi Paradis

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