We want you to meet some of our talented Nebraska school librarians. In today’s librarian spotlight, you will meet Stefanie Green, librarian at Kearney High School in Kearney, Nebraska.
NSLA: Hi Stefanie can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey to becoming a librarian?
Stefanie: I am the school librarian at Kearney High School. I taught English for two years at KHS and this is the start of my fifth year in the library. I am also the sponsor for our student book club and class officers.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and I worked in Admissions for NWU for a while after graduation. Shortly after I began there, I was drawn back to the field of secondary education. My parents are lifelong educators, an English teacher and a technology coordinator, so it was no surprise I found myself being pulled toward a career as a school librarian; I just wish I would have figured it out a little sooner! While working full-time in college admissions and marketing, I earned my Master of Arts in Information Science and Learning Technologies with an emphasis in School Libraries from the University of Missouri (UNO-MU collaborative program). Shortly after that, I completed my teaching certification program and Master of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
I absolutely love being a librarian! It truly is the best job and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
NSLA: What do you like most about being a librarian?
Stefanie: I love the creative freedom that comes with being a librarian. From teaching digital literacy content to helping students develop research skills to reading and sharing books, there are always new ways to approach content, opportunities for creativity, and fresh perspectives and stories to share! I also love the challenge and opportunity of being a leader in the building in regards to learning technologies, professional development, and research resources.
NSLA: What is one of your favorite lessons to teach?
Stefanie: I love teaching my scaffolded research curriculum to all of our English classes. I have worked hard over the past four years to divide out the most important skills for each grade level and to work closely with our English classes to make sure the content is ALWAYS tailored to their assignment and never just a generic research lesson. It is extremely rewarding to see students’ skills and confidence with research grow throughout their time in high school. My main motto toward the end of all research lessons is that when students find a resource they want to use, there are two things they need to do: 1) Cite & 2) Save. I repeat “Cite & Save” frequently, often with claps or snaps, and usually try to get students to start chanting it with me, but it typically falls a little flat. If students remember my motto in future lessons, I always give them a Starburst though!
NSLA: Tell us about one of your favorite library programs?
Stefanie: Our book tastings are one of the most popular activities I lead in the Library Learning Commons. I usually pull a bunch of our top fiction books and then place two closely related books at each setting. Students sit down at a place setting with books that look interesting and then select one book out of the pair to look at. They have three minutes to spend “hands on book;” No rules about what they look at—beginning, middle, end, back cover, etc.—I just ask that they don’t write or answer the brief reflection questions on their book tasting menu at that time. Once the three minutes are up, they then have two minutes to answer a couple reflection questions. From there, everyone stands up and they find a new place setting. I try to have a wide variety of pairings with diverse characters and briefly give them a rundown of what we have before we start—mystery, social justice, prose, historical fiction pairings, etc. Overall, these events provide students with quality time to have their hands on books to truly explore them, and it never fails that a majority of the class leaves with a book in hand!
NSLA: What is your favorite book, author, series, or genre?
Stefanie: My favorite author is Kristin Hannah. My mom and I have read all of her books and it has been a special connection point for us over the years to share and discuss her novels!
In our high school library, my favorite author is Deb Caletti. I loved her novel A Heart in a Body in the World, and I cannot wait to read her newest book The Epic Story of Every Living Thing in the next couple of weeks when it comes out!
NSLA: What are some ways you promote digital literacy and critical thinking in your school?
Stefanie: I believe I was able to successfully promote digital literacy and critical thinking in a new digital literacy elective course we offered at KHS. I taught the course for the first time last spring to 15 students, and it was an unparalleled opportunity to share timely, relevant digital literacy content! It was a lot of work creating the course from scratch, but there are so many amazing resources available that I felt I was able to put together a diverse and well-rounded curriculum! I relied heavily on the Stanford History Education Group Civic Online Reasoning curriculum, News Literacy Project resources, and National Online Safety Platform Guides.
NSLA: How has NSLA helped you grow professionally?
Stefanie: NSLA has provided me with a network of wonderful and inspiring professional mentors; it is so powerful to know and be connected with like-minded individuals who have the same passion and energy for reading, research and digital literacy education. From those that were in the UNO Master’s program at the same time I was to those I have met throughout my professional career as a librarian, I love watching and learning from others in the field!
Featuring the school libraries of Nebraska and their high-quality School Librarians