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Sullivan BOCES' School Library System is the 2019 recipient of the Twila Snead Commitment to Excellence Award for the Cross County Reading Challenge.

The award selection committee from Southeastern NY Library Resources Council unanimously agreed that the Cross County Reading Challenge clearly met the award criteria for:

  • Leadership in the creation of a new or enhanced service model that can be emulated by other libraries or library systems.
  • Creation of an innovative program or collection that enhances the lives of the organization’s constituents.
  • Provision of a service to the community that is not available from any other library, archive, cultural heritage organization or library system, or that is outside the organization’s primary mission or the individual’s job description and benefited the community in which the organization resides.

This annual award, given by the Southeastern NY Library Resources Council, honors outstanding and excellent individuals, organizations or programs. The award is named in memory of Twila Snead, who was the Medical Library Manager at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh, NY for twenty years. 

Lynn Miller, Director of the School Library System will receive a commemorative award at Southeastern's Annual Meeting on June 7 at The Thayer Hotel, West Point. The program’s name will also be inscribed on the permanent award that is displayed at Southeastern headquarters.  Lynn Miller and Sara Haynes will attend the Annual Meeting to present the program. 

This annual award,  given by the Southeastern NY Library Resources Council,  honors outstanding and excellent individuals, organizations or programs. The award is named in memory of Twila Snead, who was the Medical Library Manager at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh, NY for twenty years. 



About the Cross County Reading Challenge:

The School Library System (SLS) at Sullivan BOCES has come up with a way to help school librarians create a reading culture through the Cross County Reading Challenge.  As a result, students have read 14,068 books during the 2018-2019 school year. Not only was the program successful in creating a reading culture, but it is also becoming a model for other libraries across the state.  

The program started by asking Sullivan County students to talk about the books they have read independently since school began in September and if they shared them with a friend.  As students finished reading a book, the school librarians asked them to go online and enter the book they read and where they got the book.  With each student being part of their district’s team, as they record books, students and school districts can watch their school’s flag move as students read their way across the county.  If students shared or read the same book, the district received an additional entry.  At the end of each month, random students won a prize for their reading efforts.

“It is a great way to encourage students to discuss books with others and create a culture of reading,” said Lynn Miller, Director of Sullivan BOCES School Library System. “There is no other program like this in our region.”

This year’s Sullivan County Youth Book Festival on May 25 will mark the end of the Cross Country Reading Challenge.  The top 100 participating student readers in the Cross County Reading Challenge will be recognized at the Festival, which will take place at the Ethelbert B. Crawford Library in Monticello from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  The Youth Book Festival is a school and public library collaborative celebration of children’s books and reading. This free event is open to the public.

Miller came up with the Challenge because she wanted to get students, parents, and teachers talking about books and sharing their reading.  Her goal was to have kids read and finish the books. However, she also wanted them to know that it is ok to abandon a book because not every book is for every person.  Miller says she cannot correlate any of the results to state testing but knows that the more kids read, the more they learn.  She wanted to broaden their perspective of not only their county but of the world.

Sullivan SLS school librarians are already talking about how they want to do the Cross County Reading Challenge next year. According to the school librarians, they are seeing an increase in student reading, and struggling readers are showing striving results.       

To view the results of the Cross County Reading Challenge, visit