Danville Schools celebrate school library specialists

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 10, 2022

In describing their school libraries, the Danville Independent Schools library media specialists had only special things to say — their libraries are “like no other place in the school,” the “heart” of their school, “a space for everyone.”

We want to spotlight the people who keep our district’s libraries up and running.

Laura Eason, Danville High School

In the DHS library, Laura Eason has put a quote by Nancy Lodge on the wall — “A library is a place that is vibrating with ideas!” She believes school libraries are places for students to grow both academically and personally.

There’s a wide selection of printed books, ebooks, and audio books. There’s also a writing lab and a design studio with equipment and a green screen where students can work on projects like podcasts, videos and music production. It also has a makerspace, which “offers many options, but the most popular choice is the button maker,” Eason said.

There’s nothing she doesn’t love about being a library media specialist.

“It’s great to see a student connect with a book and get pleasure from reading,” she said. “I love putting books in the hands of students, but I also love that the library is a place to create and a place where you can relax and take a breath.”

She likes the variety of the job too. She also teaches a dual-credit class and serves as the Building Assessment Coordinator, which adds to the variety of her role at DHS even more.

“I love that the teachers and administrators see the value in the library and support it,” she said. “I love that students just come in and feel at home. I have two fabulous library aides that help me tremendously, keep everything running smoothly, and I love seeing them every day.”

Eason is excited to share that she has the opportunity to attend a Primary Source Workshop at the Library of Congress in July.

Lynyel Duggins, John W. Bate Middle School

Lynyel Duggins said she sees the library at Bate as the center, or heart, of the school.

“We get to work with every student in the building because they visit the library in their English/Language Arts classes,” she said. “I provide the students resources to help them be successful, to think critically, and to just simply be there to support them in any way.”

“I enjoy many things about my job, but probably the most important one is to help others,” she said. “I am a people person, and I am always willing to help anyone with anything.”

She shared that the Bate library houses about 6,000 books, which include fiction, nonfiction and reference.

“We have a makerspace section that we are continuing to expand, a small computer work area for those that may have Chromebook issues, and several cozy chairs and couches to curl up and read a good book,” she said. “I absolutely love library days and having the students to come in for a lesson and to check out books!”

Sarah Beauman, Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School

Toliver’s library is like no other space in the school, Sarah Beauman said.

“My role as the library media specialist is important because I am able to provide books and other materials for all of our students,” she said. “This space has been created to give our kids a place to play, build, create, solve problems, tinker, collaborate and explore.”

It’s also a space for freedom, as students are invited to choose the levels and topics of the books they want to read.

“At Toliver, the library is always open,” Beauman said. “Students are able to come throughout the day to check out new books and get help with technology. The best part of my job is when I get to see a student fall in love with a book for the first time. Their eyes just light up and they say, ‘What should I read next?’”

All students come to the library weekly during the related arts time, she said.

“During this time, I plan lessons that incorporate both library and technology standards,” she said. “This year, our students have experienced coding robots, sewing, graphic design, internet safety, research skills, 3D printing, and more. They know how to locate a book within the library and how to check out books independently. We have a makerspace with lots of building supplies and materials to allow creative play. Toliver’s library is a fun place to be.”

Norma Hopkins, Mary G. Hogsett Primary School

Norma Hopkins said when it comes to her role at Hogsett, it’s important because the younger you can get a child interested in reading, “the better it will be for the child at school and in life in general.”

“I love being a library media specialist and bringing books and book stars — as I call them at Hogsett — to life for students,” she said.

She was a classroom teacher for nine years and enjoyed it, but she said now in her current role, she gets to impact a whole school of children every year, which she loves.

“We have approximately 5,000 books geared for preschool to grade 1 on many topics of interest as well as books that explore diversity, social and emotional learning, and are just  plain fun to read,” she said. “The library collection is always evolving to accommodate needs of the students and the curriculum.  Students visit the library at least once on a six-day rotation through library classes and have the opportunity to visit daily if they wish, and many do. Early every school morning there are many students snuggled into a book on the carpet or with a reading buddy — stuffed animal.”

“I love that I am able to provide a book for a child to take home and snuggle up with a family member or a reading buddy to read it or have it read aloud to them,” she continued. “I love that the child can return the book and get more to repeat the process. I love that the child and their families can have opportunities through the book fair to purchase books at a reasonable price for their own personal libraries at home.”