I Love My Librarian » Diana Haneski
Photo of Diana Haneski


Library Media Specialist
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Parkland, Florida

On February 14, 2018, 17 people—14 students and three staff members—were killed and another 17 injured in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Diana Haneski, library media specialist at the school and survivor of the shooting, has been working since to navigate and heal her community through the trauma with joy, mental health support, engaging reading programs, and special help from a furry little friend.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Haneski took on the responsibility of adopting River, a trained therapy dog that has become a staple in the school’s library. Together, they provide critical emotional support for students and staff and have gone on to become a HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response team. “River and Diana are a dynamic duo!” one nominator shared.

Photo of Diana Haneski and River the therapy dog
Diana Haneski poses with River, the school's therapy dog. Photo courtesy of Diana Haneski.

Haneski’s support of her community’s mental health is central to her work—she has become certified in mind-body medicine and advises the school’s Mind-Body Ambassadors club, created a dedicated Zen room in the library, and coordinates projects for an annual district-wide day of service dedicated to the lives lost in the 2018 shooting. But she is still a librarian and committed to creating a culture of reading and improving literacy within Stoneman Douglas and beyond. From hosting restaurant-style “book tastings” in the library to preparing students for the district-wide “Battle of the Books” to training high school reading mentors in the ReadSquad program, Haneski instills a love of reading in her community.

“Diana embodies the essence of an exceptional librarian,” one of her nominators wrote. “She has touched the lives of countless individuals and transformed our library into a vibrant hub of learning and connection.”

Haneski was selected from nearly 1,400 nominations from library users nationwide for the 2024 award. As part of her award, she will receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as complimentary registration and a travel stipend to attend ALA's LibLearnX event in Baltimore.

The I Love My Librarian Award is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, with additional support from the New York Public Library, and is administered by the American Library Association. Since 2008, library users have shared more than 24,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to promote literacy, expand access to technology, and support diversity and inclusion in their communities.

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