In August, I will be retooling to begin a job in public k-5 education. I have been working in private 8-12 education. Both schools are in Alabama, but one is highly privileged, mostly white, suburban, and college prep, while the other is set in an urban location that is socioeconomically less advantaged, entirely African-American, and its students are behind in reading. It will be a big shift, but I’m looking forward to it. Because public education is unionized, I will be paid better and receive better benefits. The library is clearly important to my new school, where it was chronically undervalued at my old school, despite the massive overhaul of materials we achieved over the past 6 years. My new colleagues and boss seem happy with their work environment, organized, and determined. When I interviewed, I didn’t get a chance to see the library, and I feared that it wouldn’t be as nice as the beautiful building I attended at my last school, but when I saw it for the first time I was breathless: The main room would make any public children’s section envious, and there is a reading room called the “Tower of Dreams” with colored windows, a 2-story ceiling, and stadium seating. When the sunlight comes through the windows, it has the awesome feeling that a church does. As with my old library, the library is in the center of the school– the “Tower of Dreams” is the architectural middle of the school.
Special thanks to my former intern, Beth Dobson (MLIS UA), who spent a weekend of her life prepping me for elementary librarianship, and to my references for helping me land this great new opportunity.