First Woman to Win Both the John Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Book Award
On January 30, the American Library Association (ALA) awarded Arlington-based author Amina Luqman-Dawson the John Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award for her novel “Freewater.”
The Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of “the most distinguished contributions to American literature for children.” The Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizes an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.
ALA announced the top books, digital media, videos, and audiobooks for children and young adults—including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery, and Printz awards—at ALA’s 2023 LibLearnX conference in New Orleans.
“We are beyond happy for Amina Luqman-Dawson and her extraordinary achievement,” said Library Director Diane Kresh. “Freewater" is an important story and deserves to be read by every middle school student.”
Set in the Great Dismal Swamp, “Freewater” is a middle-grade novel about a secret community of formerly enslaved people. “Freewater” is published by JIMMY Patterson/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Luqman-Dawson is the first woman to win both the John Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award.
Several female authors have received the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award in the same year including Renee Watson for “Piecing Me Together” (2018), Jacqueline Woodson for “Brown Girl Dreaming” (2015), Rita Williams-Garcia for “P.S. Be Eleven” (2014) and “One Crazy Summer” (2011). The Honor books are those that were not the first place of the year but deserve honorable mention.
Angela Johnson won the Coretta Scott King Award and the Printz for “The First Part Last” (2004).
“On the eve of Black History Month, congratulations to our talented Arlington author. Thank you for sharing your voice,” said Kresh.
Local author Amina Luqman-Dawson and Library Director Diane Kresh during a Juneteenth program hosted by Arlington Public Library on June 22, 2022.
The pilot project will launch with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 19.
There is a new option for Arlington residents and visitors who need an internet connection and privacy for virtual meetings. Arlington Public Library has opened The Teleconnect Space at Columbia Pike Library, in partnership with the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development (CPHD) and the Department of Technology Services (DTS).
The Teleconnect Space is a single meeting room at the library branch that is outfitted with a hardwired computer equipped with web access to Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing software. It also has a ring light to create a professional setting. The space is reserved for virtual meetings for specific purposes including telehealth appointments, job interviews, social service appointments, health insurance sign up and college interviews.
Arlington Public Library will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of The Teleconnect Space at Columbia Pike Library on Monday, Sept. 19, from 4:30–6 p.m. The event is open to the public and Columbia Pike’s Sunshine Gang band will provide entertainment.
This new resource is part of the County’s digital equity initiative to ensure all Arlington residents have affordable, reliable access to high-speed internet and the technology to fully participate in the community and economy, with a focus on connectivity, access, education and training and program sustainability.
“Anyone who needs a free, quiet, private space and who does not have equivalent access at home or anyone who needs extra tech assistance to get started taking a telehealth appointment is invited to use the Teleconnect Space,” said Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh. “The Library is at the center of the community, and we are glad to be working with our County partners CPHD and DTS to add this vital service.”
Community and local government partners include the Arlington Free Clinic, Arlington Employment Center, Arlington Peers Helping Peers in Recovery (APRC), OAR of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church and the Columbia Pike Partnership.
The Teleconnect Space may be booked online for two hours each day, up to two times per week. Anyone unable to make an online reservation may call Columbia Pike Library at 703-228-5710 for assistance.
Potential uses of the space include: a person in a virtual support group meeting who would ordinarily meet from their car for privacy; a person with a large family who has a virtual college interview; a job seeker who lives in group housing or with many family members and needs an uninterrupted interview; a LGBTQIA+ adult who needs a telehealth appointment but does not have a secure, private space at home to talk to a medical professional; and other possibilities.
The Teleconnect Space has frosted glass covering most of the outside and a white noise machine helps provide audio privacy. Limited staff assistance is available for help with personal devices on the public Wi-Fi network. The Teleconnect Space may not be used for paid work, paid tutoring, business meetings, online class attendance, in-person meetings, social events, or by for-profit organizations.
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