Name: Sue Tooker
School I work at: Cochise Elementary
Years as librarian: 10 years
Why did you decide to become a librarian? My children attended Cochise and I enjoyed volunteering at the school in various ways. When my youngest child left Cochise in 2007, I was offered a job in the library and I have been there ever since! The job suits my love of books and makes good use of my organizational skills.
What is the most rewarding part of working with children? It makes my day when I can help a student find just the right book to spark a love of reading. I enjoy watching students grow as they read harder books, navigate the Dewey Decimal System and become more independent library patrons.
What’s one thing someone may not know about being a school librarian? My job involves a lot more than reading to students and checking out books. I manage the library book collection by researching and ordering new books and weeding older ones out to make room on the shelves. I also manage student textbooks and teacher materials for the campus, making sure everyone has the resources necessary for learning.
What makes a school librarian successful to you? I believe my role is to support the campus. It is important to be flexible and to provide a welcoming environment for teachers and students.
Describe the moment when you decided being an educator/librarian was what you wanted to do for a living? I didn’t really make that decision until after I had worked in the library for a while and discovered I enjoyed it! Back in 2007, I took the job because I loved being a part of the caring Cochise community, even though my children had moved on to middle school. I soon realized I had found my niche and now, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.
To you, how do school libraries empower students? Reading is fundamental to a child’s success in education and in life. School libraries can help to instill a love of reading, giving the child confidence to grow. School librarians also demonstrate how to use library resources, developing the child’s independence so they can feel good about going into any library and finding the books they need.
If a student were to come in right now asking for a book recommendation, what would you recommend? Why? The book recommendation would depend on the age of the student. For kindergarten and first grade, I would recommend anything by Mo Willems. His books are ideal for beginning readers. For second grade, I would recommend “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear” by Lindsay Mattick. This delightful picture book explains how the Winnie the Pooh character was based upon a real bear. For grades 3-5, I would recommend “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein, which is an adventure in a library setting involving puzzle solving and was the 2016 winner of the Grand Canyon Reader Award.
What book can you read over and over again and it’s enjoyable each time you read it? Why? I would read the Harry Potter books over and over again because there are so many plot twists, details, symbols and clues that are easily missed. I admire the way J.K. Rowling tied up all the loose ends from the first six books in the seventh.
What was the first book you read and it really gripped you? I grew up in England, reading books by the English children’s author Enid Blyton. She was a prolific writer and I particularly enjoyed her “Famous Five” series.
Why was it so enthralling? The Famous Five were a group of four children and their dog who went on exciting adventures. The book I remember most was “Five on a Treasure Island.” The children were staying by the ocean and searched for treasure from a local shipwreck. The adventures were always thrilling, but the reader always felt they could happen in real life.
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