Emma Virjan here!
It is my pleasure to introduce you to our next Featured Sweetheart, Cari Young. Cari is a librarian in San Antonio and has this to say about who she is and what she does:
My name is Cari Young, and I am delighted to be starting my SECOND year as the librarian at Fox Run Elementary School!
I grew up all over the United States as an Air Force brat. I went to college at Texas Tech University, law school at Cornell, and library school at Texas Woman's University. I've been a librarian in Comanche, Georgetown, and Levelland before arriving in San Antonio in the summer of 2010.
I have three sons. My oldest son graduated in August 2011 from Texas Tech University (go Red Raiders!). My middle son works as a landscaper in Austin. My youngest son lives in Plains with his dad and plays guitar, basketball, baseball, and golf.
TXS&S: What first interested you in becoming a librarian?
CARI: I've always loved to read (at least, it seems like always). I've often been frustrated by librarians who seemed to think the books belonged to them, instead of to all of us. I became a librarian so that I could be a different kind of librarian, one who loves to share the books, not to protect them.
TXS&S: The role of the school library has changed over the years and now, more than ever, incorporates the use of technological advances.
CARI: How big a role does technology play in your day-to-day role as a librarian?
Technology plays a huge part in my day-to-day works. When we have a power outage, I have a hard time thinking of tasks I can do without a computer! The library circulation and inventory system is computerized, of course. I use technology in most of the lessons I present to our students, from video book trailers to online citation makers for research. A big part of my job is to help students learn to evaluate the flood of online information that they will face in their lifetime.
TXS&S: One of the tabs on the Fox Run Elementary web site is labeled "Scholars." Can you share with us the concept behind that?
CARI: I've found that (contrary to popular belief), there are many students who want to learn beyond the school day. They hunger for more knowledge. I started the Scholars page to guide those students to websites that will challenge them, in a safe environment for elementary school students. I have not introduced it to classes, but the students I intend it for tend to find it on their own, interestingly enough.
TXS&S: How important is it to include/involve the community in what school libraries are doing?
CARI: It is definitely important to involve the community in what the school library is doing. I'm not sure that I have done this well at all. I have partnered with the local public library to obtain library cards for our students. But I am kept so busy with the customers (students, teachers, and administrators) who are right in front of me on a daily basis, that I forget to reach out to community members who could help us.
TXS&S: What do you do when you're not busy being Library Extraordinaire at Fox Run Elementary?
CARI: When I'm not busy being a librarian, I spend a lot of time reading and thinking of learning activities for our library. I've also written a book for librarians that was just published by Upstart, and I'm getting started on some more writing projects. Writing seems like a natural extension of the reading and learning environment that I'm in all day long.
TXS&S: Would your friends and colleagues consider you a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel?
CARI: My friends and colleagues would probably consider me a Sweetheart. It's difficult to fluster me or make me angry, even with all of the last-minute or challenging requests I get every day. I smile and laugh all day long, because I love what I'm doing.
TXS&S: Thanks so much for your time, Cari.