Literacy with a beat

VMHS librarian dances into the hearts of the students through TikTok

Pamela Thompson, a dedicated librarian with a passion for engaging students, embarked on her TikTok journey with a massive goal: to lure more young minds into the life of the library. Despite fearing judgment from the students, she leaped and started creating content. To her surprise, she found herself not only enjoying the process but also witnessing a shift in stereotypes towards librarians. Her TikTok presence succeeded in helping kids read books and drawing them into the library for various activities. The atmosphere became more relaxed and students felt comfortable approaching her for questions or to chat, debunking stereotypes along the way.

“Wanna do a TikTok? Just come see me,” says Thompson.

Her day typically began with the busy tasks of checking emails, glancing at her calendar, and preparing books for creative initiatives like “blind date with a book.” As the lead librarian for the district, her role was dynamic, involving collaboration with the media team and troubleshooting Chromebook issues. Additionally, she has library aides to assist her with various tasks.

What she cherished most about her job was its unpredictability—every day brought something new, whether keeping up with the latest trends or pursuing grants for innovative resources like VR and iPads, all to equip students for a rapidly changing world. Above all, she valued the library as a haven where students could unwind and feel welcomed.

Thompson’s journey to becoming a librarian stemmed from her previous role as a high school English teacher for nine years. Unfortunately, she found the challenges of managing student behavior overwhelming. The allure of the library’s welcoming environment drew her in, and she soon realized that becoming a librarian was her true calling. With a master’s degree, she transitioned seamlessly into her new role, finding fulfillment in helping students navigate academic and personal challenges. She has been a librarian for 17 years and has seen numerous educational trends and technological changes.

“I think being a librarian is the best job of all the academics; I just get to have fun,” says Thompson.

Despite how many students know about events like Library Palooza, Thompson remained undeterred, knowing that even a handful of students could make a significant impact. At an event like Library Palooza, scholars can meet authors, talk to them, ask questions, and even get signed copies of books. Thompson believes such events promote reading and foster a sense of community within the school.

For Thompson, being a librarian wasn’t just about shelving books but about making a difference in students’ lives. By getting to know them personally and understanding their interests, she could guide them toward reading materials that resonated with them. Whether it was recommending a gripping novel like “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds or organizing events like Library Palooza to foster a love for reading, Mrs. Thompson’s dedication knew no bounds. Through her efforts, she hoped to instill a lifelong love of learning and literacy in her students, leaving a lasting impact on their educational journey and beyond.

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