BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - With more than 100,000 school libraries in the country, more than half of them don't have a certified librarian.
But at Birmingham Public Schools, principal Jason Pesamoska says they have the best waiting to help students each day at West Maple Elementary.
"Carrie is the heartbeat of our school," Pesamoska told CBS News Detroit Friday.
Carrie Betts, who has served as the school librarian for 13 years, says not only does she enjoy helping students find their favorite books, she loves teaching them too.
"We are often not seen as a regular classroom, but we do a lot of teaching," Betts says.
Thanks to some of that teaching, and after completing a very descript and lengthy application, Betts says folks can now book West Maple Elementary as the winner of this year's National Library of the Year award.
"We are the third school to receive the award in Michigan in the 60 years the award has been given out," Betts says.
When asked about how students and staff reacted to their latest historic achievement, Betts says she could wait to share the news.
"I was like you guys, I just got the greatest news! So that was really fun," Betts says.
From all of the flags that make students feel at home to the fortune of fiction and nonfiction books on the shelf, Betts says building one of the best school libraries in the country is more than about bookmarking your favorite book. It's about funding.
"Funding is the biggest issue. A lot of our students in Michigan don't have library programs that have a certified school librarian and that is kind of our hope is to start spreading the word that everyone should get this in Michigan," Betts says.
As a part of winning the award, Betts says the district received $10,000 to implement and improve school and library programs.
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