Local librarians highlighted during National Library Week
National Library Week began on April 4 and librarians from Waxahachie and Red Oak shared their love for their jobs and reading when they celebrated National Librarian Day on April 6.
According to the America Library Association, the theme for National Library Week was “Welcome to Your Library,” which promotes the idea that libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building – and that everyone is welcome to use their services.
National Library Day honors library workers that keep the libraries in order and contribute to the enrichment of the communities every day.
Lead librarian from Waxahachie High School, Megan Mills, has been serving the WISD school district for 25 years of the 34 years she has been in education. She has been a librarian for 32 years.
Waxahachie ISD used to have three librarians, one for the elementary, junior high and high schools. However, since their growth, the district has more librarians and designated a lead librarian.
“I am the high school librarian but I’m also the representative for all of the librarians, for admin or if we’re hiring in a position. So it’s just sort of like the contact person for the district,” Mills said.
As a librarian for a high school, Mills said she likes to read her fair share of teen novels.
“I’m a bit of a teenager myself. I don’t feel like I’m the age that I am. I love the energy with high school students. I love pairing a kid with a book. I love teaching – I get offended if somebody says a librarian is not a teacher, because I still feel like a teacher at heart,” Mills said. “We're doing poetry in April, so it just makes me feel like I’m really involved in what they do. I have the greatest job because I see all the kids but I’m not giving them a grade. We have no discipline issues.”
Although it was hard to narrow it down, Mills says that her favorite book is "The Hate You Give" by Angela Thomas.
As a school librarian, Mills said she believes her job is vital.
“I feel like it’s very essential," she said. "At the high school, we really are in the heart of the school. If you walk in the building, you’re gonna right into the library. I’m a team player,” said Mills.
“When National Library week started on Sunday, someone made a graphic and the comment was something like ‘Library is the place where a loner can eat lunch and not have judgement.’ That really hit my heart because we do have a safe space," she added. "I’ve always been proud of the fact we have a safe zone here. Everyone is welcomed. Everyone has a voice...I always say it’s their library.”
From Red Oak ISD two librarians shared their experiences.
Patricia Murphy, Red Oak High School librarian, has been in education for six years and joined the team as a Red Oak Hawk four years ago.
"My favorite part of course is the students. Being able to help connect students with the resources they seek is the best part of my job,” Murphy said. “Librarians/libraries are definitely essential. We not only help facilitate learning by curating accurate information for research, knowledge building, and discovery, but also in providing a safe place for students to learn, create and share. Books, ebooks, technology and databases are all tools. Our role is to instruct students on how to utilize these tools to become life-long learners in and out of the classroom.”
Murphy said her favorite genre of books is mysteries.
“'One of Us is Lying' by Karen M. McManus is a terrific YA novel that kept me questioning,” said Murphy.
Shields Elementary School librarian Melanie Dixon has been in education for more than 29 years and has spent the last 14 years with Red Oak ISD.
One of her favorite things is getting to be with the students, she said.
“So many things come to mind — being able to see every student and helping them discover the joy and magic of reading, providing print and digital resources for teachers, and sharing wonderful picture books through story time,” Dixon said.
She listed a few of her favorite books, which include "Poppy" by Avi, "Some Kind of Courage" by Dan Gemeinhart and "Is That a Good Idea?" by Mo Willems.
Sims Library librarian
Youth Librarian Jennifer Graf from Nicholas P. Sims Library shared her experiences.
Unlike the others, Graf has only been a librarian for three years after attending library school in 2016. Originally, Graf received her bachelors in education with an emphasis in history but never took that route.
Five years ago on Thursday, Graf applied to library school and graduated in 2018.
"A few months after I applied to library school I got hired here," said Graf. "Although it's not in a teacher role here, we still some of the educational stuff with a little more freedom I think. We're not teaching for tests or making sure people can do algebra but we get to have fun and we're still providing some form of education."
As the Youth Service librarian, Graf is in charge of the youth program at Sims.
"I'm the Youth Service Librarian so I work with kids and tweens and I do the programming with them. My favorite part is when we get kids in and they're excited to be there and they don't wanna leave, so you're not doing something right. I love doing the programming part for the kids. Coming up with like cool crafts and cool coding stuff and getting to plan that out," Graf said.
Her favorite book is "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, as she is a lover of historical fiction.
"It's just beautiful," Graf added.
Sims Library is a Public Library located in Waxahachie and full of many books and free resources for the community to utilize. To view more about Sims, visit https://www.simslib.org/ .