Staff Secrets: North Salem Middle/High School Librarian Cynthia Sandler
She’s not your mother’s librarian. Unless it’s Halloween.
Do you know the students by name? First names of kids who ‘live’ in the library, last names of the kids who take out a million books, and first and last names of the kids who throw paper airplanes. Just kidding.
You’ve been heard saying, ‘I’m not your mother’s librarian.’ What does that mean? We all know the stereotype. I dressed up as a ‘librarian’ last year for Halloween: the bun, the glasses. ‘Our mothers’ school librarians’ were professional ‘shushers’ who sat behind their circulation desks, guarded the books, and occasionally tried to explain the Dewey decimal system. All of that has changed. School librarians are certified teachers with master’s degrees who support learning for all students across all content areas.
What’s the best part of your job? Well, the kids, of course. They make every day a new adventure. I love what I do.
What’s the worst part? This is my fourth year at the North Salem Middle School/High School library. Previously, I was an English teacher at Nyack High School. I miss being the ‘mom’ of my own class ‘family.’ I might spend a few weeks with the sixth graders on an English project, then spend time on 10th grade science, then onto social studies, and so on. I am more like everyone’s ‘aunt.’ But there are benefits to that too. An aunt gets to sweep in, bring presents, have fun, and add a different dynamic to the family scene.
Can your share a favorite memory? My principal came in very concerned one day, having heard from a distressed parent that we had Fifty Shades of Grey in our library. I explained that no, we don’t. But what we do have is the acclaimed young adult novel Between Shades of Gray, about a young Lithuanian girl persecuted during World War II. The best were the faculty responses to my email clarifying the misunderstanding; they had a field day.