Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An Interview with a High School Librarian


I am excited about today’s post for many reasons.  It is my first interview, it highlights one of my favorite people, and it is a great topic.  Every job at a school is important, from the hard working custodial staff to the principal.  These employees deserve our admiration and gratitude far beyond what any of them receive.  One of the most underappreciated of these jobs is the school librarian.  As I have previously mentioned, I worked in the school system for fifteen years in various positions.  The last several years were as a library clerk.  I had the privilege of working under three amazing librarians.  I have also met many others through the close-knit library family.  These unsung heroes choose to spend their lives teaching the love of reading to our children.  It is an invaluable service not only to our future leaders but also to our country as a whole.  In the words of Mark Twain, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” 
Now without further ado, here is my interview with Amy Bridges.

Hello, let’s start by letting my readers know a little about you.  Tell us about yourself.
From as long as I can remember, I have had a book in my hand.  Reading is a fundamental part of who I am.  Currently I am a high school librarian in Shreveport, La. I taught English for 11 years, and I have been a librarian for 6 years.  I am married with two boys, ages 11 and 9, and a baby girl on the way.  I have lived in La all my life, but I have traveled extensively.  I love European history, Oreos, shopping for shoes, and rooting for the LSU tigers.

 What made you decide to become a librarian?
I think it is my abounding love for books and literature that steered me in the direction of the library.  It was where I wanted to spend all of my free time, and I thought that getting paid to guide people in the direction of the right book was just the job for me! 

 Why at the high school level?
In college, I focused most of my attention on the works of Shakespeare and the Romantic poets.  When teaching became my profession of choice, it just seemed natural to go into high school where these particular subjects were already being taught.  I stayed at the high school level when I became a librarian because of my newfound love for YA literature.

 What is your biggest challenge in getting students to read?
Every day I hear students say that they hate to read.  When I ask them why, they say that reading is boring, or that they haven’t found anything to interest them.  Typically, their experience with reading has been what was forced on them in the classroom.  It’s my mission to find that child a book that they will fall in love with, and fall in love with reading in the process.

 What is the most popular genre among boys/girls?
Currently, my girls are reading Supernatural / Paranormal Romance books like Lauren Kate’s Fallen series.  I also have many girls who love drama, as in Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, and Hollywood High.

Boys are a little different.  Right now I am seeing lots of anime/manga with the boys, as well as dystopian novels.  I almost had a fight when Veronica Roth’s Allegiant came out and I only had two copies.  Another one that they love is Lex Thomas’ Quarantine series.  Oh, and of course James Patterson or Rick Riordan see their fair share of action.

 How has technology changed the library?
Well, computer usage is the meat and potatoes of my library.  Students come in to work on school projects or check email.  When the computers are down, I see considerably less traffic than when the computers are working.  However, I do have lots of kids who check out books regularly, so the computer usage hasn’t seemed to slow down circulation.

 Does your school offer library science in the curriculum?
Our school does offer Library Science, which I’ve taught for the last four years.  It is typically offered to freshmen.  I try and incorporate the skills of how to use the library with research skills.

 If you were granted one wish for your library, what would it be?
An unlimited budget.  I wish I could buy every book a student comes in and asks for, but my limitations on funds makes that hard sometimes. 

 How have the cuts in the government budget affected the way you operate?
Budget cuts have been felt everywhere, but I feel them especially hard here in the library.  I simply cannot order the number of books, magazines, databases, and AV materials that I’d like to with a limited budget, so I have to prioritize.  Some things have been on my list for years!

 What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Absolutely, without a doubt, the most rewarding part of my job is the relationship I form with my students over our mutual love of reading.  I have students all the time who tell me that they hated reading until they read that book I told them about…  That’s the best reward ever!

 Have eBooks had an impact your readership?  Will any of the books in your library be available to students online?
At my school, we don’t have a large eBook readership.  Many of my students do not have eReaders or iPads, so the demand for eBooks has been very minimal.  I have over 100 eBooks in my collection that have been provided by my district, so students have access to them if they want to.

 Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Thanks for spotlighting high school libraries!  There are awesome things going on here that I am so proud of! 

Thank you so much for volunteering to be my pilot interview!  I hope my readers have gained some insight into the important job that you do on a daily basis.  In your honor, my recipe of the day is homemade Oreos!

** If there are any authors out there who are interested in donating books to Mrs. Bridges’ library, please contact me.

 
**Recipe of the Day**
*Homemade Oreos*


Ingredients

1 18.25oz. Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
3 Tbsp. Shortening, melted

½ Cup Cake Flour, measured then sifted

1 Egg
3 Tbsp. Water

2 Tbsp. brown Paste Food Coloring (optional)*

 
Filling

3 ¾ Cups Powdered Sugar

½ Tbsp. Granulated Sugar

½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

½ Cup Vegetable Shortening

2 Tbsp. Hot Water

Directions

1.     Combine cookie ingredients in large bowl.  Add the water a little bit at a time until the dough forms.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

2.     Preheat oven to 350˚

3.     On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough to just under a 16th of an inch thick.  To cut, use the lid to a spice container about 1 ½“ in diameter.  Arrange the cut out dough rounds on a cookie sheet that has been lightly sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove wafers from over and allow to cool completely.

4.     As the cookies bake, prepare the filling by combing the ingredients with an electric mixer.

5.     When the cookies have cooled, roll a small portion (1/4 heaping teaspoon) of the filling into a ball (just over ¼” in diameter), and press it between two cookies.  Repeat with remaining cookies.  Makes approx. 54-58 sandwich cookies

*The food paste color is an optional step to achieve the original cookie color.  If you omit this ingredient, be sure to increase the water amount in the cookie mixture from 3 Tbsp. to ¼ cup.  This food color paste gives the cookie the dark brown/black color.  It is sold in the cake decorating supply area of craft and art supply stores or Wal Mart.

**If the dough seems too tacky, you can add up to ¼ cup of flour as you pat out and work the dough.  Use just enough to make your dough workable but not tough.

**Pet Tip of the Day**

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/introducing-your-dog-your-new-baby

I am so excited for Amy’s new baby girl!  She has two rough and tumble sons as well as a large and
lovable Pyrador (Great Pyrenees & Black Lab mix).  I’m sure all three of these boys will be great protectors of their little sister.  Here are some helpful hints for introducing Finn to little Anne-Marie.

Many dogs who haven’t spent time around children find babies utterly baffling.  This isn’t surprising.  They move, sound, smell and behave very differently than adults do.  If your baby is still on the way, please see our article on Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby to learn steps you can take to help your dog adjust to the new changes ahead.  If your bundle of joy has arrived, keep reading for important tips on making introductions and early interactions between your dog and baby as smooth as possible.  If you spend time developing a good relationship between them now, they will likely become the best of friends for years to come.

Bringing the Baby Home

First impressions are important.  Your dog should have pleasant experiences with your baby right from the start.  When bringing your baby home from the hospital, send everyone else into the house first so your dog can express her usual excitement to see people.  After she’s had a minute or two of greeting time and expends some of her energy, have someone leash her.  This is important, even if you have no reason to believe that she’ll react poorly to the baby.  That person should also get some small treats ready to use during your dog’s first few moments with the baby.  (It may help to prepare these treats in advance and keep them in a container near the front door.)

It’s crucial to stay calm and relaxed when you and the baby enter the house.  If you seem nervous and jumpy, your dog will pick up on your feelings and may become nervous as well, thinking that the bundle in your arms is something to worry about.  Instead, speak to your dog in a soft but cheerful voice as you walk into the house.  Have your helper distract her with plenty of treats so that her attention is divided between them, your baby and the other people present.  The helper can ask your dog to respond to obedience cues, like sit and down, using the treats to reward her polite behavior.  Praise your dog for any calm interest in the baby. Avoid scolding your dog.  Remember, you want her to associate the baby with good things, not your displeasure.

 

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