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Current librarian retiring this year

Eleanor Dudley, Features Editor
Originally published June 14, 2017

Debora Arthur

Debora Arthur

Since she was ten-years-old Debora Arthur has been working in libraries.

She started as a young library assistant and followed her passion throughout college. She then studied library science at the University of Washington. Four years after finishing her degree she began working in the Seattle School District. She wound up at Ballard, and never left; but this year marks her final one as our librarian.

Eleven years after her first day, and she still remembers it clearly. It was a summer professional development day, the halls were empty and the library devoid of students. The staff welcomed her with open arms and Arthur knew instantly she had found her place.

“I immediately felt welcome, there was no question that this was where I belonged,” Arthur said. “I just felt that I was at home.”

Years later, she still looks forward to coming to work everyday.

“I have never come into this building thinking to myself ‘I wish I were somewhere else,’” Arthur said. “Everyday I’m so happy and I’m so lucky to work here. And so I’m always grateful.”

Arthur will miss the community here most next year. The energy and exuberance that fills these hallways will be hard to find outside of high schools. Students, especially the witty ones, are what filled Arthur’s career with joy, purpose and meaning.

“I adore when I am in the library and a student says something really clever or snarky and it makes me laugh,” Arthur said. “I love teaching students different ways of looking at or for information, just seeing that kind of growth.”

Despite the cliche, Arthur looks forward to traveling with her recently retired husband. No longer stuck inside she wants to explore activities available during the school-day.

“I am really excited about exploring what you can do with your time besides work,” Arthur said. She also noted taking yoga classes, cooking new dishes, and of course catching up on her reading as on her to-do list.

While working here Arthur has seen the library go through a series of transformations. Shelves have been moved, computers added and books weeded out, but the most significant change Arthur witnessed is the rise of the internet. When she began working here the use of the internet was cutting edge. Today it’s ubiquitous.

“This incorporation of the internet into every piece of our life—schoology and the source—all of that stuff is part of our lives and is no longer something special,” Arthur said.

Under the leadership of new librarian TuesD Chambers, these changes will multiply.

“I am so looking forward to seeing Mrs. Chambers create a lot of innovation and excitement in the library and just taking everything to a new level,” Arthur said. “She is a change agent and I am really looking forward to where she takes this library and the library’s role in the school.”

In today’s information age, libraries are reliable centers of information and knowledge. It is crucial to Arthur that students go out in the world as educated consumers, equipped with the resources and skills to find and use accurate information.

“Even when I was a student, teachers would tell you ‘use reliable sources’ and ‘always consider where you’re getting the information,’ but now we are finding it’s our democratic society that’s on the line,” Arthur said. “Its no longer just personal use, now we are talking about democracy and our government and now it’s really become important.”

In her final days as our librarian, Arthur leaves us with these words of wisdom: “Be curious, ask questions, don’t be afraid of the future because it’s waiting for you,” Arthur said. “And take what you learned at Ballard and continue that into your life.”

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