January TASL Librarians of the Month

Written by Brandi Hartsell

Each month, TASL recognizes three outstanding librarians from across the state. These librarians are nominated by their colleagues and are honored for their remarkable service to their schools and communities. We are grateful to each of them for sharing their wisdom and experience. Congratulations!

January 2020 East TN Librarian of the Month

Mr.Tidwell - Kristin and Travis MHS Library

Name: Travis Tidwell

Hometown: Jellico, TN

School: Maryville High School

Grades Taught: 10-12

Average # of Students per Class: 25

What do you love most about being a school librarian? 

Making a safe space filled with books and stories and raucous laughter!

What would someone see if they were to walk into your library?

Usually: a forest of kids getting their caffeine fix at the coffee shop, somebody ironing perler beads in the Makerspace, three or four tables with people studying, someone reading on one of the comfy couches, and at least one heated game of Uno.

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

I am most proud of our library being a haven for students from all walks of life. I love that we have a strong tradition of teaching and research — we had over 300 class visits in the library last year — but I think both my co-librarian and I would say that helping students individually and creating a space for them to just be are some of the most important things we can do.

What advice would you give a new librarian?

Don’t isolate yourself in the library; find your support group outside your four walls (and if you just can’t find that in your building, look to online professional communities or groups you can join).

If you are willing, please provide us with a favorite activity description we can share with other professionals. 

My favorite recent activity we’ve done is the new set of digital breakouts we made using Google Sites for our sophomore orientations this semester. They take a little more time than we planned, but they’ve been a really fun way to get to know our new students and for our new students to know more about the physical space and the services we offer. Here is the link to one of our digital breakouts: https://sites.google.com/view/mhslibraryorientationc/

Follow the Maryville High School Library on Instagram @m.h.s.library

Anything else you would like to share?

I love librarians. I am incredibly grateful for my local community of hard-working librarians (shout out to the Knoxville chapter of the Forever Young Adults Book Club!) and for the librarians near and far I call on a daily basis. It’s an honor to be one of you!

January 2020 West TN Librarian of the Month

JeanineJoneslibraryIMG_8607 - Jeanine Jones

Name: Jeanine Jones

Hometown: Memphis, TN by way of Chicago, IL

School: Overton High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

Grades Taught: 9-12

Average # of Students per Class: 25

What do you love most about being a school librarian?

Sharing Information and fostering the love of literacy.

What would someone see if they were to walk in your library?

Depending on the day one might see various activities in our library: Students using technology to complete projects, various meetings and programs. People checking out books and equipment. Testing, testing and more testing.

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

Our program offers a place where everyone can come and get answers for academics, pleasure or personal interests. It is literally the hub of the school and is booked often. We also provide engaging literacy based activities to our elementary feeder school, Willow Oaks. Our high school scholars go over to read to the younger kids and keep them engaged through readers theatre. Then we encourage the young readers to engage in the process of acting out stories and poems related to the topic. This program has been extended to our functional skills scholars as well.

What advice would you give a new librarian?

As a new librarian stay grounded in best practices but dare to explore your creativity to keep your community engaged. Also, be flexible. The school librarian wears many hats and fills many shoes. Learn all you can to serve the location and population you are assigned to. Do not be afraid to say that you do not know something.

If you are willing, please provide us with a favorite activity description that we can share with other professionals. 

Create A Collection is an event and engaging activity where students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to help with building the collection. A book vendor is invited in to set up a display of books. Participants get to browse the book fair and select/recommend books that they would like for me to consider purchasing for our library. If desired titles are not on hand at the fair we make a list. This process helps us to provide resources and pleasure reads to suit our current population school-wide. As I gauge the interest of our library users it becomes a collective decision and not just me being the sole selector of the collection additions. (Click here to access additional documents).

Follow Jeanine on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LibrariansLOL/

Anything else you would like to share?

~Literacy is Life~ Live!

January 2020 Middle TN Librarian of the Month

Name: Carol Teeters

School: Algood Elementary School

We were unable to reach Carol, but would like to recognize her work and outstanding service to her school community.

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