HONORING MARIA PAPANASTASSIOU; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 17
(Extensions of Remarks - January 27, 2020)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E88]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                       HON. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, January 27, 2020

  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the work and 
dedication of Ms. Maria Papanastassiou, a librarian and Kids' World 
assistant manager at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Ms. 
Papanastassiou was one of 10 librarians in the country to receive the 
national ``I Love My Librarian Award'' for 2019-2020 from the American 
Library Association.
  Maria Papanastassiou was nominated by her colleagues who felt that 
through her work, families with diverse needs have found a home and a 
welcoming, inclusive place at the library. Ms. Papanastassiou works 
hard to help families connect with one another and receive crucial 
  Ms. Papanastassiou leads play groups for children with Down Syndrome, 
Cerebal Palsy, sensory processing disorders and language delays. She 
organizes creative learning opportunities such as story boards with 
felt characters to help with language development, crafts for fine 
motor development, instant snow powder for sensory exploration, a 
circus tent for children who require low-sensory environments, stepping 
stones for gross motor skills, and activities to facilitate imaginative 
play. And she instituted ``Early Open for Families'' so that children 
of diverse needs can experience library exhibits in a quiet setting 
before the library opens the door to the public.
  In addition to her service to children with special needs, Ms. 
Papanastassiou created meetups for parents, caregivers, and 
developmental therapists to get together in an informal setting. She 
also leads the Arlington Heights Memorial Library's partnership with 
C.I.T.Y. of Support, a nonprofit that aids families with children in 
  My office has worked closely with the Arlington Heights Memorial 
Library to ensure that our shared constituents receive effective and 
efficient assistance. My district staff holds regular neighborhood 
office hours in the library.
  Maria Papanastassiou is a dedicated, compassionate and creative 
librarian and I deeply admire her conscientious work to provide a safe 
place and learning environment for families with diverse needs. On 
behalf of the constituents of the 9th Congressional District, I thank 
Maria for her service and congratulate her on this award.