In grad school they talked about the importance of the library serving as the “hub at the center of the school.” Funny thing about cliches… they contain the grains of truth. The truth inherent in this imagery is what drove me towards becoming a librarian. This truth is why I do what I do.
The hub of the school and what that means to me….
Well, whether I am in the field of education as a librarian or art teacher, my drive comes from the same place. Give students and teachers tools to be creative, encourage a sense of belonging, provide an environment that supports it, light up a bit of personalized inspiration and VOILA!…beautiful growth.
What I love about libraries is the mission inherent in their existence; Provide quality resources and open space. Cultivate a sense of belonging for all. Tirelessly serve and be inspired by the intellectual and creative pursuits of EVERYONE in the community. Whatever community a library supports, the concept of education for ALL is at it’s core. The Library = The Universal Classroom.
On any given day I work in one of the busiest intersections of my school. Because our library’s doors are ALWAYS open during school and inservice days, anyone can come in at any time to grab a book, a computer, a magazine and get busy on their personal pursuit (s) of the moment. Our library provides a safe and nurturing environment that allows this to take place for ANYONE who seeks it out. This is the physical representation of the “universal” hub.
Our library can morph to meet the needs of anyone and has the potential to provide a sense of place so that EVERYONE feels invited. The library is a critical social arena in our school community: A safe and reliable “third space” that provides anyone who needs it with a sense of belonging. Teachers, staff, students, and sometimes even members of the larger community utilize the library to meet up and work side by side, or in close proximity to one another. Why? Because we work hard to make the library FEEL good. A free flowing physical space that supports the growth of a social atmosphere with universal acceptance. A loner, a social butterfly, a hungry scholar…we all belong in the library.
With all of it’s resources and it’s spirit of universal service, acceptance, and freedom, our library nurtures the intellectual and creative development of the community in which it is embedded. We open our doors so that ALL of our teachers, students, staff, and our extended community members may come to LEARN in an inclusive, comfortable, and public environment. This is the beauty of the library. And this is why I do what I do.
In my position, I can help any and every person that comes into my “classroom” whether it be by providing a safe space, by encouraging the development of personal interests no matter what they are, or teaching my patrons to use resources that challenge their academic development, my ability to serve is endless. In turn, the library provides for me in the same exact way as the library provides for my patrons. By doing what I do I have a sense of place. I develop my social and teaching skills on a daily basis. And…I am always learning and getting inspired by something new.
Ms. Mina is a graduate of the University of Vermont. Her B.S. in Art Education through the college was her ticket to teaching jobs in Vermont, New York, and Thailand. After completing her MLS through CUNY Queens College, she returned to the Green Mountain State where she is now the Library Media Specialist at Mt. Abraham Union Middle/ High School. Her work as a Rowland Foundation Fellow allowed her opportunities to conduct research in Australia and Italy.