Locus for Librarians

The fourth annual Saint Mary’s College High School Librarian Workshop on Jan. 25 addressed the ongoing educational and networking needs of high-school librarians and media specialists in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The one-day event, led by SMC librarians and faculty, drew approximately 40 attendees from more than two dozen local public and private high schools and learning centers.

 “I’d include the whole Bay Area if we could,” said workshop organizer Susan Birkenseer, a reference and instruction librarian at SMC for twenty years. “In addition to our instruction, by networking with colleagues, librarians share creative and new ways to work with faculty and engage students.”      

Meghan Sweeney, assistant professor of English at SMC, delivered the keynote address, titled “The Moves that Matter: Creating a Research Space.”

While covering multiple topics, this year’s workshop centered on Common Core literacy and the library’s role in supporting students and teachers with Core competencies. “Most critical for librarians is dealing with students who just want the quick tips to reach answers,” said Rachael Hernandez, a Dougherty Valley High School English teacher and Common Core instructional coach who co-led a segment on the Core. “The responsibility isn’t to be the content expert, it’s to equip students to find the content.”

Amador Valley High School Teacher-Librarian Erik Scherer, for one, appreciated both the professional perspectives he gleaned and the relationships he developed as a result of attending the workshop. “We’re a feeder school to Las Positas,” he said, referring to the Livermore community college. “Because I’m familiar with the librarians through attending the conference, I’m able to send my students to a class there that prepares them for the academic realities of college.”