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Gadsden Elementary’s Library Media Specialist Embraces the Evolving Profession

Lucy BallewLucy Ballew of Richland One’s Gadsden Elementary School is in title the library media specialist. It’s the role of the librarian with all the technological bells and whistles.

The days of sitting criss cross applesauce around the librarian as they read a book, the pictures of which the student may or may not see, are long gone. Now, a projector magnifies the books so that each child can see the pages as they are turned by the hand of the media specialist. Gone also are the days of pulling the drawers of the wooden card catalog to locate books. The location of every book can now be found in the library’s online system.  

“As technology has progressed, the role of the school librarian has evolved and the job title has changed according to which district one works,” said Ballew.

The titles may have changed a bit but the roles and responsibilities remain the same – to support and engage learners by fostering reading, inquiry, and collaboration, utilizing a diverse collection of resources, said Ballew, who has worked in the district for four years.  Prior to coming to Richland One, she was employed with a neighboring district for 15 years. Through her wealth of experience, she is able to offer advice to others who may be interested in working in the field of library science in a public school setting.

“Visit several school libraries at different grade levels to see which you are interested in working,” said Ballew. “Then, I would suggest that you go for it because it’s a great profession.”

She also recommends learning more about the library and information science programs at nearby universities and their requirements. Her inquiry of the profession and the district, specifically, began quite early, having parents who were both educators in Richland One.

“Education was valued in our family as long as I can remember,” said Ballew. “In fact, you might say it was a family tradition as I also have several aunts and uncles, cousins, and two grandparents who were or who are currently educators.”

Even as early as five-years old, Ballew recalls being a guest on Mr. Knozit, a local television show where she shared her desire to become a teacher. On the way to becoming, she changed her major to business, years later becoming a mother to three active children. It was children’s literature that led her to a job as a preschool teacher. Ballew eventually became the computer lab assistant at her children’s elementary school and discovered a love for technology.

“Working at an elementary school gave me an opportunity to see what the school library was all about,” she said. “I realized that the position of school librarian would allow me to work with young children, their literature and technology.  I decided that it was the perfect job for me.”

In her current position and in her role as webmaster at Gadsden Elementary School., Ballew said she has been provided resources and opportunities for professional development in addition to having a supportive library media consultant at the district-level who is ever happy to help or to point them in the right direction.  

The adjustments to the profession were the only ones she had to make. Since she had grown up and currently lives in the district, Ballew said there is a greater connection to her students and the staff.

To learn more about media specialist positions in Richland One schools, click on the Employment tab from the home page. Then, click on the Job Openings link to Start an Application for Employment.