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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Christine Durst leaves a mark on every person and project she touches; she brings people together, pulls impossible undertakings out of thin air and into fruition, and makes you feel seen. 

No one deserves the Utah Educational Library Media Association (UELMA) Administrator of the Year award, which she received this month, more than her. UELMA generally offers this award to Principals and District Level Supervisors– but everyone knows that Christine Durst deserves the recognition. She is an irreplaceable, irreducible asset to the district and a great friend to all.

The award honors administrators directly responsible for a school or group of schools who have made influential, unique, and sustained contributions to effective school library programs. Three Utah school employees are recognized every year at the annual conference. 

A panel comprised of UELMA board members and the conference board members use the following criteria to judge nominees:

  • Exemplary service to fulfill the needs of students and the school community
  • Creativity in programming and use of content
  • Collaboration with teacher peers, staff, and administrators
  • Effective integration of library services with curricula
  • Demonstrated student engagement
  • Exemplary use of technology tools
  • Outreach to parents, families
  • Effective promotion of the library and what it offers

Christine Durst is exemplary in each and every aspect, as anyone who knows her can attest. According to UELMA board member and Dixon Middle School Librarian Stephanie Dudley, several employees in the district submitted Christine for the award. 

“I’ve worked with her for the past three years, and I’m sad that this will be her last year,” said Dudley.

Christine has worked for Provo City School District for over thirty-four years. For eight years, she worked as Canyon Crest’s Librarian, sharing the joy and wonder of reading with every student who visited her library. She’s since become District Library Media Coordinator. 

“Christine has been an integral part of creating a community of librarians that work together to improve literacy throughout our community and cultivate a love of reading. She has excelled in every way possible.”

“Her constant support has been invaluable over these past few years. Christine goes into the schools regularly to help each of us! She runs Provo Reads and Battle of the Books annually, which each take countless hours of her time.”

One noteworthy event was Author Con, where families across the district were invited to connect with local authors, learn writing tips and tricks from said local authors, and purchase their preferred books. This event was so successful that neighboring districts also hosted their own Author Cons. It remains the most triumphant reading-focused event in the district, drawing over a thousand attendees. 

In a way, Durst has penned her own legacy, inspiring the many employees, educators, students, and librarians that will miss her dearly.

Last year, thirteen Librarians put Christine forward for the Provo Way award. Provost Elementary’s Librarian, Kristi Kirkland, shared her nomination, which offers insight into Christine’s character:

“I began working as the librarian at Provost Elementary about eleven years ago. When I started, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work left on the table. There were no lesson plans, thousands of books required weeding, and several programs needed implementation.

“As soon as Christine heard about my struggles, she offered to help. She supplied lesson plan materials, weeded out books, and tutored me to manage all my tasks in my allotted time.

“Honestly, I might have quit years ago if it weren’t for her help and encouragement. Even after all those years, she still stops by to see how I’m doing, bringing a treat or pick-me-up.

“That’s just how Christine is– she wants those around her to know she cares about them.”

Generations of Provoites know Christine for her generosity, goodwill, and work ethic; many others only know her through her works, but regardless of who you are, one thing is sure: we all owe Christine our gratitude. 

Christine, thank you so much for being a kind and caring steward of literacy, and for making employees and students alike feel cared for. You leave behind a legacy of learning in Provo, and everyone will undoubtedly miss you. Thanks for everything.

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei

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