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This blog post is a part of my Interview With a Librarian series. I interview librarians who share their career stories and the books they love. You can see all my other interviews here!
This week I’m chatting with Heidi Doyle, library media specialist and technology integration specialist at Sunapee Central Elementary School.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a proud parent of a current UVM student who is getting a degree in Elementary Ed and Special Ed. I have a loving and supportive husband who indulges all my book and technology purchases. I have two crazy dogs that keep me company while my husband is away on travel. I feel incredibly lucky that I love what I do! I never feel like it is a burden to go to work and when I’m away from my school, I rejoice in coming back again.
Q. How long have you been working in libraries and how did you get your start?
I began working in libraries in my early twenties as an Interlibrary Loan Librarian at Marlboro College in Marlboro VT. After about 10 years, I earned my MLIS from Syracuse and got a job as an Elementary Librarian for HIllsboro-Deering Elementary School in Hillsboro NH. I spent 13 years at Hillsboro, learning the art of teaching, but never truly challenging myself. Then in 2014 I began work as a Library Media Specialist and Technology Integrator at Sunapee Central Elementary School. In this capacity I have grown so much as an educator, an advocate for libraries and as a person.
Q. What is your favorite thing about working in libraries?
Working in an Elementary School is the best of all worlds. I get to read great stories to kids, teach them about cool technology, and help guide them as future citizens of this world. My undergraduate degree in Theater and Psychology is put to use each and every day and coupled with my MLIS and the current work I’m doing in getting my Master’s in Teaching with Technology, I feel like I am prepared to handle anything! I also love working with other teachers and getting them excited about stories, using technology in their classrooms and challenging themselves to become better educators.
Q. What is the most challenging thing about working in libraries?
I currently have a very supportive administration, but this has not always been the case. Advocating for what we do, sharing our talents and abilities with the staff, students and community, going above and beyond what people expect is par for the course, but still many people do not have an understanding of what a librarian is. I see so many amazing things that librarians are working on, really preparing our students for the future in innovative ways, and yet I still hear stories about “bad” librarians and positions being cut around the country.
Q. What are some of your favorite books?
I adore the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems! I also find that anything by Eric Carle is easy to connect to some standard or another and the bright illustrations and repetitive text make them great reads for younger students. Another author that kids love that is also fun to connect to standards is Robert Munsch. For older kids, my favorite read alouds are Dragon: Hound of Honor by Julie Edwards, The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr and King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. Of course, personally I also love to read graphic novels, so I am always stocking up on those for the library too.
Q. What are you currently reading?
Currently I am reading several books about Makerspaces! Invent to Learn by Sylvia Martinez, The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkinson, and Worlds of Making by Laura Fleming are all on my nightstand.
Q. Tell us about something you’ve done in or for your library of which you’re very proud.
I’ve started a Makerspace for our school, which is housed in the library. I have several students who use the Makerspace on a regular basis, and am hoping to share the wealth with classroom teachers through a series of workshops this spring. In addition, I have spearheaded a few celebratory activities in my school over the past few years. Dot Day, The Global Cardboard Challenge and Hour of Code have all been a big success!
Q. If money was no object, what one thing would you do to improve your library now?
I would have the space renovated! I am slowly trying to replace all the shelving with movable units, but the whole place could use a total makeover. The building is quite old and the library is in a space that used to be a gymnasium and theater. There is a stage on one end of the library and the ceilings are extremely high. I envision a partial second story that could house the books, 2 glassed in work rooms/computer labs, and still have plenty of room to host events.
Q. What are your favorite professional development resources?
The best professional development for me has come in the form of workshops with other like minded educators and school visits. I have attended the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference, the Literacy For All Conference and the Building Learning Communities Conference in the past few years. Each one provides excellent hands-on workshops that I find something to apply immediately. In addition, I’ve been visiting at least one other school librarian each year. It is amazing to see what people do with their spaces, their limited resources, their schedules and their passions.
Q. Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with new librarians?
The one word of advice I have is to get out their and talk to people. I spent far to many years feeling isolated and alone because I didn’t take the initiative to get out! We are often the only people in our buildings who do what we do and it is hard to tell if we are doing it correctly unless we go and gather ideas from others.
If you’re interested in learning more about Heidi, you can check out her blog, One Librarian’s Journey. You can also connect with her or follow her library on Twitter.
Many thanks to Heidi for sharing her story with us. Please leave her a comment below to let her know you appreciate her. If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please fill out this form.
Title image courtesy of Aleksi Tappura via UnSplash. Headshot courtesy of Heidi Doyle.