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Dorcas Hand / About
As a school librarian, I understand better with each passing month, how essential our role is to students.
Too often students accept the first two to three results,
of the 10 million or so that Google offers,
as the answer to their research.
And then wonder . . . why can’t they find what they really need . . .
I get a thrill from teaching students the next levels of information literacy, and then from seeing their understanding shine through in the final project, I get deep satisfaction.
I’m a librarian who loves to put just the right book in a student’s hands, and to hear back some detail they remember.
I am with faculty daily, to plan projects large and small, to teach the latest database, to support classroom topics and to listen to requests for materials.
• 35 years as a librarian at elementary, middle and high school
• experience in a public library (Boston Public Library Central Young Adult Room)
• 25 years, since 1990 and current, at Annunciation Orthodox School (AOS), Houston TX
- Building from a tiny space and an old collection, to an imposing two story space for two libraries and a substantial collection; the school has grown from 250 students in church buildings to an independent campus across the street that holds this year 715 students.
- Began at AOS as a solo practitioner, and now head a staff of three (FTE 2.7) for a Lower School Library (PS-4), a Middle School Library (5-8), and a brand new Digital Archive of school photos.
- Reinvented my own job description, the library program and the library space several times.
- Planned, managaged and overseen - so far - three different physical facilities previous to our current library, plus various rearrangements of furniture and shelf displays to maximize student benefit.
School librarianship is a profession that requires constant creativity
No two libraries will be the same, even upstairs and downstairs in the same school.
To make the most of each day, each staff person, each shelf or database. To offer the best possible total program in the benefit of the students, a librarian's role in leadership is intimately tied to creativity when researching and selecting programs that are fresh and innovative for a school's specific needs and demographics.
Networking with other librarians is essential.
• HAISLN (Houston Area Independent School Network, a backbone of the Houston independent schools for 25 years now. The annual HAISLN Recommended Reading List is nationally known.
• TLA/TASL/PSDG and ALA/AASL/ISS to be sure I am aware of the latest trends, and to contribute my own thoughts to the larger library community by speaking and holding office.
• Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence (Libraries Unlimited, 2010), a compilation of twenty-one essays by nineteen authors from independent schools across the country. Also participated with a group to write the NAIS Guidelines of Professional Practice for Librarians.
I am excited to work as a consultant with schools that need an outside eye and voice to build their own best library program, facility or policies. When I consult, I see my job as finding the answer you couldn’t see because you are too close to all the pieces of that answer. I enjoy working with administrators, teachers and school librarians I enjoy supporting school libraries in their efforts to grow and improve. I am passionate about strong school libraries in all their variety, and I look forward to working with you and your team to find the best solutions to your challenges.