I started as the library media specialist at Padua Academy in August of 2016. I am in charge of all aspects of the Learning Commons, which serves over 450 students and approximately 70 staff members. As the sole employee in the library, I manage all areas, from collection building and maintenance to reference services to marketing and everything in between. As an educator, I create lessons to teach students how to use databases, create correct citations, search more effectively, evaluate news sources, and more. I assist students with finding both print and online scholarly sources as well as creating a citation list in APA, Chicago, or MLA style--whichever is required by the teacher.
I also plan events to increase usage of the library's resources. Some of my pasts events include reading challenges, book talks, school-wide voting on favorite book characters, Teen Read Week activities, a scavenger hunt, book tasting, book trailer watch parties, and more. See here for posters I created to advertise these events.
I oversee the Student Library Advisory Board, which is a group of students who share a common interest in reading. We meet monthly to discuss books and also conduct charity work. The past few years in December, the group has coordinated a book drive. In December 2019, we donated 847 books to the Tiny Steps Program at Saint Francis Hospital.
I interact with the faculty daily to reserve the Learning Commons space for class visits, develop lessons to match their learning objectives, and stock the shelves with books that meet the needs of their projects. Students also come to the Learning Commons every day, whether it is to study, work on a group project, conduct research, or ask me for help finding a book.
In the summer of 2017, I redesigned the Learning Common's website. It went from being a single page of links to having multiple pages dedicated to citation styles, class projects, source evaluation, events, and more. It is now much more visually appealing and useful to students.
The Padua Learning Commons is regularly updated with new displays and information. Each day I highlight a Saint of the Day to promote Padua's Catholic identity and each week I choose an Author of the Week--both of these selections are shared on the Learning Common's website. I also update physical displays around themes or seasonal events. See here for some of my displays.
For several years, I managed the student work/study program in the library. Seniors managed the library desk before and after school. I was responsible for training these students and signing their timesheets. This was one of the first programs of its kind within the school.
One of my most recent accomplishments is reconfiguring the summer reading program. Previously, students read only within their English class. I was tasked with creating a Summer Reading Committee of interested teachers and updating the program. Due to our work, there is now a school-wide selection. Rather than taking a multiple choice test, students have the opportunity to discuss their thoughts with classmates. The selected titles are young adults novels instead of classics and tackle contemporary issues. Both students and staff alike have been very happy with this change and the opportunity for discussion it provides. In the summer of 2019, students read Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson and joined a member of the Summer Reading Committee for a live discussion on Google Meet.
I am very excited for my future at Padua Academy and look forward to the challenges and opportunities the next school year will bring.