As the Early Childhood and Lower School librarian, my job falls under the category of “specials.” I started thinking about what that word means and how it applies to my job. The dictionary defines special as “having a particular or specific function.” A librarian does have a specific set of skills. I support the classroom teachers while at the same time teach students about books and authors, literature, and how to access information. And of course, I know my way around the Dewey Decimal System.
What I find to be special about being “special” is my unique relationship with my students. I used to envy classroom teachers the bond they form with a small group of children over the course of a school year. As the years went by, I realized that my connection lasts much longer. Starting in our preschool program (called “HATS”), I am with my students for seven years as they move through early childhood and lower school. I learn what their interests are and how they evolve. I see friendships shift and grow.
And this advantage is specific to Harrisburg Academy. Being a school that educates students age three through 12th grade, my connection to students does not end after 4th grade, but continues through my collaboration with the Middle and Upper School librarian, Heather Shumaker. My first HATS class is now in 7th grade. They are no longer under my direct tutelage, but are still very much a part of my world. I follow their progress from afar but with the same interest in their success as when they were my students. It is such a privilege to be part of a child’s life for such an extended period of time and in my book (no pun intended) that is “special.”