|Biography for Gerri Fegan|
It has been twenty-two years since I started out on a journey in the great stacks of literature, and it has been the most fascinating trip. I had recently moved back to Massachusetts with a new family after having spent ten years in New York City as an actor and theatre director. I was looking for a way to be close to children and yet maintain an interest in the arts. I found exactly what I was looking for in the Children's Room at the Lawrence Public Library. For the next ten years, I worked with the best colleagues who genuine cared about the unilateral access to information and literature. I realized that being a librarian brought out the best in me: I sang all the songs I learned as a child, read the latest fiction with school children, worked side by side with librarian Holly Turner to create multimedia experiences for a very diverse population, and helped to create a bilingual family literacy curriculum under a Barbara Bush Foundation grant. My husband and I formed Fegan's Pocket, a storytelling troupe that has travelled all over New England. It was this experience, and the encouragement of my colleagues, that sent me off to Simmons to pursue my master's degree in library science.
Upon graduation, I began work in the public schools as a library media specialist. After one more year in Lawrence, I became library teacher at Amesbury Elementary School for students in grades Pre-K through 4. The environment was electric with the creativity of classroom teachers and being part of the specialist team that integrated so many areas of the curriculum into art, music, technology, and foreign language was invigorating. Other school librarians in Amesbury were, and still are, committed to improving the whole child initiative through literacy and our long-range plan with NMRLS is an example of the excellent collaboration efforts of our team.
While in Amesbury, I became a board member of Amesbury for Africa, a United Nations Sister Cities organization. Together with Amesbury Elementary teacher Deb Welch, we were able to fundraise and complete the Ebussamba School Library in the village of Esabalu, Kenya. From the start, the two school communities worked to build the library brick by brick, one chair at a time, and finally completed the structure in the summer of 2005 at which time I traveled with AFA to train the school librarians. Since then, several universities in Kenya have started offering library education classes as professional development for teachers. I was fortunate to present the details of this project at the annual ALA conference in Chicago in 2009 with other members of the International Relations Roundtable.
I currently teach at High Plain Elementary School in Andover, another community with stimulating school librarians who have completed the long-range planning process with MBLC. I teach information literacy and literature to students in grades K-4 with a wonderful school community who appreciate their school library.
It has been my pleasure to serve as MLSA President: it has provided me many ways to serve the school librarians in the state. We have built a coalition of educational leaders to support each other in advocacy and provide professional development opportunities for all school librarians. In 2011, I will become Chair of the AASL Affiliate Assembly and President of the New England School Library Association to expand the state’s presence in the promotion of school libraries. In this way, I will be upholding the tradition of my MSLA Executive Board predecessors who continue to bring honor to our profession. During this upcoming year, I will also serve on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Educational Technology Advisory Council as well as the Expert Panel for the Massachusetts Statewide Literacy Plan. School librarians are the key to our children’s educational future and, in Massachusetts especially, it is our mission to ensure that every child have the opportunity to be part of the enrichment that a robust school library can provide, and that every school library be led by a certified school librarian.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 October 2010 )|