Lauren is a school librarian at Seneca Ridge Middle School of the Loudoun County Public School District in Virginia. She is a licensed and certified library media specialist and has a Masters of Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute (New York City). She is also a freelance writer and has written for School Library Journal and Rosen Publishing. She enjoys running, spending time with her supportive husband, active little boys, and sweet rescue dog named Skylander (nicknamed Skylar).
She is pictured above with the students from her Sudan reading and fundraising project, as well as the Lost Boy speaker who gave a community talk (Lauren is on the far right).
ES: Thanks for joining us today, Lauren! What do you see as the role of a school library in the 21st century?
LM: School library media centers are the hub for information for the school community. As the world of information is becoming more global, libraries have a unique opportunity to introduce students to global issues and inspire and teach them to make a positive difference in the world. With a combination of books and 21st century technology, students can learn, think, and share to make a difference in the world.
ES: I know you’ve been responsible for some fabulous projects at school, even contributing an article to School Library Journal about your experiences. Would you like to share an example with our readers today?
LM: This year in my middle school library, my Virginia Readers’ Choice book club learned about the crisis situation in South Sudan while reading the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. Inspired to help South Sudan and raise awareness in our community, we partnered with a local non-profit organization, Sudan Sunrise, to bring a former Lost Boy of Sudan to speak at our school in a community talk. We raised enough funds to purchase 15,000 meals for students at the Manute Bol Primary School in South Sudan. This project was highlighted in a web feature in School Library Journal. A follow up article discusses ways that school librarians can use a combination of books and web sources to encourage global thinking among students and to help support girls’ education around the world.
ES: Wow! Congratulations, and thank you for serving as an inspiration to us all! What is the American Library Association doing to help foster this transition in the role of school libraries?
LM: Collaboration and partnerships in teaching social justice through school libraries are being recognized and awarded with a new award by the American Library Association (ALA). The first annual Roald Dahl’s Miss Honey Social Justice Award was launched this year. According to the ALA website, the award acknowledges “teaching by school librarians and the use of school library resources to convey a child’s sense of justice as exemplified by many of the characters in the works of Roald Dahl.” We can make a difference, one book and one library at a time.
ES: Thank you for taking some time to share your amazing work with us today!
Follow Lauren on Twitter @bravelibrarian!