Future librarian TuesD ChambersEleanor Dudley, Features EditorOriginally published June 17, 2017
Her face is a familiar one for many; so is her infectious energy, high spirits and passion in all that she does. From language arts and leadership classes to library programs, TuesD Chambers is an inspiration to students.
Next year she will bring that exuberance and talent to the halls of Ballard High School, as the new librarian.
Chambers has been the librarian at McClure Middle School for four years, but has been teaching for 17 years.
“I started in language arts and social studies and then I became a reading specialist and then I became a librarian and in brief stints in there I did student leadership which I consider some of my very favorite work,” Chambers said. “ I am hoping to infuse that same kind of student voice in the library.”
Looking to challenge herself, and with encouragement from our current librarian Debora Arthur, Chambers chose being our librarian as her next adventure.
“I get itchy after four or five years so I try and do something new,” Chambers said. “One of the things I think is important for everyone to do is to make decisions that change who you are. Sometimes you pick those decisions and sometimes they pick you.”
But she can’t dive in right away. She must first gain a deeper understanding of our school community.
“I got to earn my spurs. I need to be indoctrinated into the Ballard culture. I need to meet teachers, I need to find out what’s going on,” Chambers said. “ I need to see all the pockets of beauty and glory tat are currently happening”
Her vision is to redefine the library as a learning commons, a space for creativity, learning and innovation.
“The whole area should be buzzy and active the whole time. And on top of that there should be spaces where you have fun and explore — where you make mistakes and you create things — and it may be loud,” Chambers said.
This idea of libraries as learning commons is growing rapidly. With the infusion of technology such as Ipads and more into schools, libraries roles have changed, and Chambers plansto revitalize our library to fit evolving student needs.
“We need to think about the library as more of an omni channel experience. How we think about text has to change, and how we think about a library has to change. Because we should be using the OverDrive App,we should have access online, this shouldn’t just be sequestered to your class taking you in or me showing up in your classroom doing a research lesson,” Chambers said. “It needs to go beyond that.”
To do this, Chambers will administer a student needs survey this year. She hopes to start next year with student and staff responses in place. Student voices and desires are central to her plans.
“I truly believe if you put student voice and student choice at the center of everything you do, your compass is always going to point true. It’s always going to point right because at the end of the day if that’s what you’re really here for, if that’s who you’re listening to, then you will make the right decisions and you will go in the right direction,” Chambers said.
It is clear our former and future librarians share a love of students. While Arthur will miss students the most, they are what Chambers ismost looking forward to in her first year as librarian.
“First and foremost I am excited about students. I am excited about coming back and seeing people thatI haven’t seen in years and seeing how they have changed and grown and matured,” Chambers said. “Also seeing what they’re doing and getting to hear what you’re excited about and then how can I be part of that again — how can I encourage that — how can I ignite that.”