Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Friday, January 10, 2014


Happy 2014! We're roaring in our fifth year here at Library Lions! Special thanks to everyone of you who have participated on our blog over the past four years. Your interviews showcasing the innovative youth programs in school and public libraries have inspired us all. We can't wait to hear from more librarians this year. Thanks also to the many authors who have stopped by to share their Library Love with us since we launched LL in 2010. And now let's hear from our January Librarian, Shannon Wallace!

Hello! I’m Shannon Wallace, upper school librarian at Lakeside School in Seattle. 

The Pigott Memorial Library at Lakeside is a three-story bustling hub of student activity. Do not be fooled by these photos of our empty library.  During a study period, we often have 200 students at once!

Lakeside is known for its innovative teaching strategies and the library is no exception.  The December 2013/January 2014 issue of Learning and Leading with Technology showcased how librarians Heather Hersey and Sue Belcher revamped library orientation at Lakeside. Read all about it in the article Flip Your Library on page 22.
I just started at Lakeside in October, but I’ve been working with teens in high school and public libraries in Seattle and across Canada since 2005. 
Over the years I’ve visited libraries in 10 countries (see my photos on Flickr)   
I keep building on my collection of library cards.

Occasionally, I’ve been known to dress up as a literary character. Here I am as Tintin with a tiny Boba Fett on Free Comic Book Day, 2008.

And I’ve kept in touch with 33 of my former teen volunteers, many of whom have now graduated from university!

The Skinny: What do you love most about your work? Talking to teenagers is the best part of my job. In sharing a conversation with a teen, I can trade recommendations for favorite books.  I can help make research less frustrating.  I can provide someone with a resource that solves a personal problem.  I can be a friendly and helpful adult who encourages a nerdy interest.  I can provide a student with a meaningful volunteer experience.  I can find out about a new video game.  The students at Lakeside are full of energy and enthusiasm, with new and creative ways to look at the world.  I can learn just as much from them as they can from me. 

A Mighty Roar for Libraries!
I hope people will never stop being curious about the past, the present, and the future, and that the library will always be an invaluable commons for information and imagination to fuel that curiosity.  At Lakeside, the library can also promise a quiet place to escape, a high tech haven, a think tank for group work, a cozy spot to a retreat from the dreary Northwest winters, and a spirited game of Bughouse chess. 

Library Laughs:
Sometimes when you turn around, the Eye of Sauron is watching you.

Books in disguise?

No, they are participating in Movember.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
Our library display maker extraordinaire, Julie Johnson, is currently asking students to think about the way they eat.

Our Think Tank allows students to work in a large group.  Whiteboard paint on the back wall means graffiti is productive. 

Librarian and multimedia wizard Janelle Hagen heads up our Makerspace. 

Recently students learned to solder and made flashing LED robot pins.  They used conductive paint to create artistic greeting cards that light up.  We also have a 3-D printer. 

Here's a 3D lion. The lion is Lakeside School’s mascot. I can’t wait to see what creative projects students attempt next.
Managing schoolwork can be stressful, so sometimes the best programs are scholarly ones!  This Fall, Heather, Sue, Janelle and I met every grade 11 student in one-on-one research conferences.  These meetings gave invaluable advice to students about the search process, databases, and how to survive a research paper.  We are so lucky to have school wide support in providing individualized instruction.  Students become better researchers when they get to know their own personal librarian.

Readers Roar  
Overheard at Lakeside Library:

“When I come into the library I get in the mindset that I will be efficient and the vibe helps me get all my work done.” (11th grade student)
Conversation between two 9th grade students:

Girl: “I have 200 books on my To Read list and I’m in the middle of 15 books at the moment.”

Boy: “Well you should put all of John Green’s books at the top of the list because they’re the best.”

 “Only at Lakeside is chess this intense.” (10th grade student)

Book Brag
The Divergent series by Veronica Roth has been quite popular this year. We’re all excited for the upcoming film and hoping it will be as exciting as The Hunger Games.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

I think the whole world is captivated by this young girl’s story.  Lakeside students want to make a difference, and we are all inspired by Malala’s strength, bravery, and determination.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

“I like reading because you get to experience life from other peoples’ perspectives, some you might never even think about. Reading books also allows one to practice empathy. I’ve found that I’ve become much more empathetic now that I’ve read plenty of books. I like reading because it’s something you can always do, and you’ll never run out of books. I like experiencing fantasy and adventure, mystery and loss, things I might not otherwise get to experience.”  -- Grade 10 student reading And the Mountains Echoed

One Last Roar
Lakeside’s mascot is the lion, so we roar a lot around here.  Working at Lakeside has reminded me that the most valuable resource in any library is the librarian.  Just ask!

Let’s Link
Lakeside School Blog 

Thank you, Shannon for the terrific interview sharing your Lakeside School Library with us!

 Love Libraries? Give a Roar in “Comments” below.
Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot. 


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