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School Libraries: Facing Forward

We recently asked a few special guest bloggers to share with OELMA's Communication Committee what the school library means to them as part of National School Library Month. This is the third post of the month to showcase the impact of the school library from another one of our very own Ohio Educational Administrators. 

School Libraries: Facing Forward

By: Daniela Stuckey

Assistant Principal, Theodore Roosevelt High School

In pondering the question: What have you seen in regard to libraries facing forward? I can’t help but revisit my childhood memories of the school library and librarian (just a few short years ago, of course). Here’s a glimpse of the impressions through that elementary lens:

  • “ kids need to sit there quietly, or I will send you back.”

  • Me: “Where can I find “Amelia Bedelia” books? Librarian: “Go over there to that ridiculously long wooden monstrosity (might not be an exact quote, it’s a memory after all) and look it up!”

  • Me: Who is Dewey Decimal? And, why do I need to know he has a system? For the love, just tell me where to find “Amelia Bedelia” 

In fairness, there were also times when the library was a space for read alouds, book talks, and puppet shows. But, as I fast forward to 2021, I’m amazed at how libraries have evolved, particularly in schools. 

At THRS, under the leadership of an unbelievable specialist (Jennifer Flaherty), our library is the epitome of “Facing Forward.” So, back to the original question... here’s what I’ve seen in regard how our library is facing forward:

  • Flexible seating options like bistro tables, ergonomic chairs, and hybrid exercise study bikes.
  • A Makerspace stocked with all the fixins to inspire creativity and bring projects to life
  • Technology pods where searching and working can be collaborative or independent.
  • The home of our Read Woke Program, celebrating diversity and inclusivity for ALL students. 
  • Rough Riders Read… a summer traveling library committed to enhancing family engagement. Free books and fun activities are accessible in neighborhoods across the district. 
  • A flexible teaching space reserved by teachers for weekly book talks, community partner presentations, video productions in front of the green screen and collaborative student projects, to name a few. 

I could go on and on with examples, but I’ve been reminded a blog is not a dissertation. I will conclude by saying that at TRHS the library is the heart of our school community. It’s not just a place to go and check out resources, it’s a warm, inviting environment students truly enjoy. And, if it’s evidence you seek, just follow a mean assistant principal on the days she chases students out and escorts them back to their classroom:) 

Daniela Stuckey, MA Educational Leadership 

Daniela Stuckey is an Assistant Principal, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Kent, Ohio. Prior to joining the TRHS admin team, she served as Middle School Principal and High School Assistant Principal in Watertown, Wisconsin. During Ms. Stuckey’s 27-year career in education, she has taught a variety of adolescents in the secondary setting. Ms. Stuckey’s passion and focus is on equitable access for all students, through the Integrated Comprehensive Services delivery model. 

Daniela holds a Masters of Arts degree in Educational Leadership, with Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of Pupil Services licenses, from Edgewood College, Madison, WI. Daniela earned a BA from Cleveland State University, where she majored in English and minored in education. She is a member of Learning Forward and ASCD.
Ms. Stuckey enjoys running, reading, and spending time with husband, Scott, and dog, Francis.