The Northeast Florida Library Information Network (NEFLIN) recently awarded the Distinguished Career Award for 2022 to former Director of Media Services Lou Greco. This award is for an individual who has displayed exemplary achievement and leadership throughout his/her career in the library field.
Video Transcript by Kate Tompkins, Pedro Menendez High School
Anyone who has met Lou, even for a few minutes, can see the amazing effect and impact he has on people. Lou has more energy in his pinky finger than I do in my whole body! Lou was the Director of Media Services from 1995 to 2013, and he was an amazing leader.
Lou’s passion for libraries and education is palpable. Lou’s caring nature makes everyone he talks to feel important and heard. After a brief retirement (because you know he can’t sit still!), Lou came back to our district as a school librarian and opened a K-8 school. Yes, he came back and opened a brand-new school! After that, Lou took over the school librarian position at Gamble Rogers, the feeder school to my school.
In this role I’ve gotten to see him in his element- with the kids. Every student who comes here from Gamble raves about Mr. Greco and says how much they love him. And this isn’t just our big readers—this is every student, including our struggling readers, who may even love him more than the avid readers because of his passion and how much he supports our students who are averse to or struggle with reading.
When Lou comes over to my school, you’d think a celebrity was here by the way the kids react! Lou loves young people and chats with them about their lives, and that’s what really sticks with them, long after they’ve left his school. Lou reads nearly all the books in his collection so he can recommend books to students, and he thinks of innovating programming to motivate his students to read more. He’s incorporated Genre Bingo as a way to keep students reading and have them try books out of their normal genre. He saw that his students liked the “Who Was” series of books, so he made a similar challenge with those.
He is also accepting of where his students are with their reading, and he buys them books they’re interested in reading, including “lower level” books that other middle school librarians might eschew because he just simply wants his students to read and enjoy their experience reading.
On a bigger level, Lou is an advocate for school libraries. When the school libraries in Putnam were in jeopardy, he went to the school board meeting to speak against getting rid of their school librarians. Lou has served on numerous FAME and AASL committees over the years, as well, including serving as FAME president.
Even though Lou is no longer our leader, he gives all of us advice and is always a good sounding-board for our ideas or problems. I’ve already begged him to come back after retirement to come visit our students! Lou has impacted so many librarians, educators, and students over his decades of service in St. Johns County that I can’t even imagine we could calculate the effect, but I know his legacy will live on forever in our county and beyond.