Thank you so much for being here, Renee!
TxSandS: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do, and who or what inspires you?
ReneeDH: I am the new librarian at Taylor Middle School. I moved to Taylor MS from the Houston area.
Since arriving, I have been getting to know the kids, faculty, curriculum and collection. Weeding was priority one, so we would make the collection work for us.
I feel inspired when students ask for a particular book. I love they have preferences. It is especially rewarding when they want a sequel to something I recommended.
Renee 1 and 2
TxSandS: What were your goals when you first started working with kids and books, and how has that vision changed now that some time has gone by?
ReneeDH: I began my career teaching students in a self-contained class. While doing that, my goal was to teach a love of learning be it through reading, writing, math, science. I tried to find the students gifts and teach them how they could use that to their advantage. We were a Learning Styles district in Bryan, so that was helpful.
After teaching 3rd and 4th grade, I moved to teaching ELA at the middle school. The advantage of that was I could focus on teaching students to love literature by finding a connection between them and the stories we read. I also got to teach writing!
Upon becoming a librarian, I was back with the younger grades. In a grade 2-5 school, I integrated books and activities that extended or enriched the classroom learning. Usually we did things like readers theatre, short science experiments or other curriculum needs in library time.
Years later, back at the middle school level, I was the information literacy specialist. I integrated research techniques and technology for the campus. My love at GCCISD was history fair. I loved the year-long, in-depth process of learning about a history theme. The kids became so advanced after 3 years of competition. It was a joy to watch their growth.
In Taylor, the technology in the district is at an early stage. I am glad to be on the ground floor of the decision making for that. I am hoping that as we roll out new technologies, the students will have more exposure to real research, primary sources, and student generated topics and culminating activities.
Sweetheart P. J. Hoover with Renee
TxSandS: What has been the biggest surprise since you've entered the world of books for kids and teens?
ReneeDH: It is surprising that they want to read books about someone dead. I always enjoyed sci-fi. Having a dead person in those was not a requirement; more a by-product.
TxSandS: How do you see reading changing for teens in the next couple years? What challenges do you see? And what can we do to help?
ReneeDH: With teens now and in the future, they want YA material in an elementary length novel. It is a special challenge to find topics they want in a book that is short enough. When we do find those books for them, the literary value is missing.
So I guess writers need to produce a gritty topic in a short piece of literature. A tough order.
TxSandS: Would you consider yourself a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel?
ReneeDH: I am a sweetheart that is a scoundrel wanna-be!
TxSandS: Thank you so much for being here!
If you know of someone who would make a great Featured Sweetheart, please let us know! The best part? If you nominate someone, we'll send you a $5 Starbucks gift card :)