My passion has always been to create friendly open spaces (studio, library or classroom) staffed by professionals, where people connect with tools and information that challenge thinking, provide alternative points of view and spark creativity. Public and school libraries have always been the heart of our learning communities, providing trained professionals that provide a curated collection of multimedia resources and tools to serve the needs and interests of all community members.
I received my BFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1990 and as a fine artist I needed a day job. Aside from teaching art and exhibiting my work, I sustained myself primarily in the administration of community arts organizations and supporting community information needs. I began experimenting with web design and as the web matured and became graphic, I jumped in with both feet! I joined others in some early attempts at combining the graphic web with education, mainly helping NPO’s get their message out to their communities in need. In the 2000’s, I combined my artistic and technology skills with my interest in education and helped create the first Math Blasters – now online – a very cool math game for young students.
After moving to New Hampshire with a new baby, I volunteered at my local library and was subsequently hired to bring the Davis Public Library in Stoddard, NH back to life. I experienced first hand the essential role libraries serve in their communities. I listened to the community, and with the help of many volunteers was able to provide computers, an Internet connection with wifi, current popular novels, and a clean accessible children’s collection. The library blossomed. Clearly the community wanted more robust and relevant library services and I had the great good fortune to lead many talented volunteers in making this happen. Library users increased by over 300% as did the annual budget, passing unchallenged at town meetings several years in a row. A Friends group was formed and, thanks to the expertise of George Preston, successfully became a 501C3 in a matter of months. What an amazing experience! Unbeknownst to me at the time, I believe what I and volunteers created in the Davis Library is what Ray Oldenberg calls a “Great Good Place”. After reading this and Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone I grasped the context of my attraction to libraries and why I was compelled to get a MLIS.
I received my MLIS from Simmons College in 2011.
While studying I also sought experience working with experienced librarians, and I worked part time in several public libraries while pursuing my degree. Again, I was fortunate to be hired by Tamara McClure and Robin Sweetser at the Fuller Public Library in Hillsborough, NH. Talk about an amazing example of a community library. There are people waiting outside every day for the doors to open! While working as the youth services librarian in the beautiful Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library, I found that what I enjoyed most was teaching students and their parents research skills. So, when I was offered a full time position with the Contoocook Valley School District as a School Library Media Specialist I couldn’t turn it down.
Making the world a better place is what sustains my interest in literacy in the broadest sense. Our ideas of literacy skills have evolved to include visual, textual, financial, digital and technological literacies, what we now call “multiple literacies”. As a School Library Media Specialist, my focus was on teaching students and teachers multiple literacy skills through the practice of research and exposure to fine literature. As Thomas Jefferson said “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
I am currently looking for a position on the leadership team of a progressive library where bringing to life a 21st Century Library is second only to fulfilling the needs of the patrons we serve.
I enjoy working with a progressive community of educators, community leaders, activists and funders who are not risk-averse and who are interested in creating that “Third Place” Ray Oldenburg referred to in his book, “Great Good Place” where all are welcome and integral to the growth of their community.