A Hearfelt Thank You

Even though this blog won’t be posted until January, I wanted to write an end-of-the-year thank you to the people in my world who have inspired and supported the Napa Valley USD library program. Some have shared knowledge and vision, some have partnered on projects, and some have had the often thankless task of managing daily school library operations. They range from world-famous librarians,  overworked teacher librarians and our unsung heroes, the library technicians. In one way or another each has contributed something to make our Napa Valley USD school libraries better and more welcoming spaces for our students and staffs.

First off, I would like to thank Buffy Hamilton  (AKA The Unquiet Librarian). From the over ten years ago  “Make Your Mother Proud” Kindle program to writing Zines and learning about Heart Maps, she has always shared her incredible wealth of knowledge of student-centered libraries. Buffy is and always will remain my “library-superhero.” On a personal note, we also share a love of our long-haired dachshunds.

Jennifer Baker is my visionary-let’s-get-it-done library guru. She has been a public library director, a YA librarian, and is currently working in the Napa Valley USD Communications Office as the social media expert. Together we planned our first all-digital summer reading program, the One Card program between Napa Valley USD and the Napa County Library, and the United We Stand: California school and public libraries working together. She is one of the few librarians I know who is married to a librarian…which makes her doubly smart!

Sandy Killian and Deb St. Clair are two hard-working teacher librarians who provide cutting-edge services to all the Napa Valley USD secondary students. Even though they serve multiple schools and over 9,000 students, they still found time to write our new digital citizenship curriculum. I know they are stretched to the limit, but they never complain and bravely carry on. Once in a great while they will tell me to chill out and calm down… something I do need more often than not.

There are 7 secondary library media technicians and 18 elementary library technicians who manage the daily operations of 25 school libraries and, depending on the site, textbook circulations and Chromebook inventories. Some of these technicians have been in their positions since the late 1990s or just as the district completed its automation implementation. They originally signed on to read stories, check out books, and provide access to basic print research (encyclopedia, thesaurus, almanac). Almost twenty years later, they have mastered the automation system, digital resources, and the district’s eBook platform. To use the words of an old commercial, “…you’ve come a long way, baby!”

Cathy Willis is one of the secondary library technicians who stands out because she is the resident data queen. Not only does she manage our largest middle school library, she also handles all the data for our Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) online programs such as Reading Counts and Read 180 and iReads. She is the cataloging expert for the web-based textbook program and all itemized devices. She is the district’s Follett Destiny expert, HMH expert, an IMRA graduate (Instructional Media Resource Assistant program from the San Diego County Office of Ed) and a voracious middle school and YA reader. We have told our HMH rep that she is staying with us…

These are just some of the dedicated people who support our district’s  library vision, projects, and daily operations. I would be remiss if I did not mention our wonderful parent volunteers and our enthusiastic high school library T.A.s. A hearfelt thank you for a wonderful year!






Author: Kate MacMillan

18 years as Coordinator of Library Services for Napa Valley USD and Napa Valley School Library Consortium; 2010-current CDE Recommended Literature Committee member; 8 years as an outside library consultant for Follett Library Resources; 6 years as a Napa County Library Commissioner; Current member of California Dept of Education’s Literature Committee; Napa TV Public Access board member; ALA, AASL, CLA (Californiia Library Association), CSLA (California School Library Association) and CUE (Computer Using Educators). Conference presentations include: United We Stand; School and Public Libraries Working Together (CLA 2016, CSLA 2017), It’s Not Your Mother’s Library 2012 and 2013 (CUE); Enhancing Online Resources through Library Partnerships (CUE 2010); Implementing School Library Consortium (CSLA 2008); Athletes as Readers and Leaders (2008 Association of American Publishers & CSLA Project). Contributor to School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come!

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration

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