The Polestar Award – Past Winners


This award is presented to honor members of the association who have made outstanding contributions to school library media programs in Illinois.


2021 Polestar recipient Gail Janz, pictured on right with AISLE President Mary Jo Matousek (left), was honored during the Annual Award Ceremony.

“Gail has always represented our association with professionalism, knowledge and grace. She has served on numerous committees including conference hospitality, registration, etc. and she chaired the New Name task force when we were changing our name. In that role she insisted that all members’ opinions were heard and considered. She has served as Liaison to ICE, Treasurer of ISLMA, President of ISLMA in 2009/10, a member of the Linking for Learning Task Force and President of the AISLE/LBSS Endowment Fund in 2013-2015 and again in 2021/22. As a member of the LBSS Endowment Board she has acted as a grant reader allowing her to become familiar with library programs across the state.  

Gail has shown her love of libraries and teaching over the years.  On the local level she was an active leader in her school district. At Morris Community High School, she served on numerous curriculum committees and took an active role in her district.  She maintained a strong working relationship with her administrators over the years. Gail is always willing to help other librarians across our state.   

Gail Janz is a caring, hardworking individual who has shown a love of libraries and teaching over the years. She has taken an active role in ISLMA/AISLE and in each position that she has accepted has done an outstanding job…Gail exemplifies all of the attributes that we expect in a Polestar recipient. “

Past Winners

2021 – Gail Janz
2020 – Beverly Frett
2019 – (No Award Given)
2018 – Ruth Shasteen
2017 – Patti Fleser
2016 – Georgeann Burch
2015 – Bonita Slovinski
2014 – David Little
2013 – (No Award Given)
2012 – Leslie Forsman
2011 – Anita Beaman
2010 – Pam Storm
2009 – Becky Robinson
2008 – Sharon Ball
2007 – Dr. Gail Bush
2006 – Shelley Riskin
2005 – (No Award Given)
2004 – Kathleen L. Shannon
2003 – Barbara Lund
2002 – Jackie Ploudre
2001 – Lou Ann Jacobs
2000 – Lois Schultz
1999 – Esther Baker
1998 – Johanne Grewell
1997 – Sondra Miller
1996 – Carol J. Morrison
1995 – Mary Ellyn Gibbs
1994 – Caroline Campbell
1993 – James Skrine
1992 – Pamela Kramer
1991 – Carol J. Fox
1990 – Joyce Karon
1989 – Kay Maynard


Our shining stars- past and present recipients of the Polestar award pose for the traditional annual photo, taken this year after the Awards Banquet held on November 8 at the iHotel & Conference Center in Champaign. Pictured left to right are: back row, Georgeann Burch, Ruth Shasteen, Patti Fleser, Becky Robinson, and front row,  LouAnn Jacobs, Gail Janz, Beverly Frett, and Caroline Campbell.