Edgy Library Girl
You may know Jennifer LaGarde as one of the winners of the 2011 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times American Library Association I Love My Librarian! award. Or you may know her as the mind behind the blog The Adventures of Library Girl, which was nominated for a 2011 Edublog award. Maybe you’re one of the more than 1500 people following @jenniferlagarde on Twitter, have participated in one of her Teacher-Library Virtual Café presentations, or you are one of the librarian-dots on the Google map of North Carolina (ow.ly/9cyZt) that she created as a hopeful response to A Nation Without School Libraries.
A former language arts teacher, LaGarde, now a teacher-librarian at Myrtle Grove Middle School, has only been in the library field for five years. Yet she’s having a big impact. Her knowledge-sharing presentations and library advocacy, most notably through the North Carolina School Library Media Association, influence librarians statewide.
“The budget situation in North Carolina is dire, and school library jobs have been lost, but Jennifer’s twist on this situation gives all members of the NC school library community a chance to learn advocacy strategies from others,” says Kelly Brannock, a school library consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
LaGarde’s Web 2.0 ease, pedagogy, and collaborative spirit have put her name on the national map, says Gwyneth A. Jones, a teacher-librarian at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, MD (and a 2011 M&S).
“I first became aware of this edgy Library Girl a couple of years ago, when I was growing my Twitter personal learning network because she always replied to my tweets with great ideas, suggestions, and resources,” says Jones. “Her approach to librarianship is one of fierce advocacy for literacy and lifelong reading combined with a fearless ability to try new things, all for the benefit of her most important customers—her students.”
With up to eight classes in her library every day, that’s who LaGarde spends most of her time with. “Though I am also a reader and a major tech geek, first and foremost, I am a teacher,” she says. “I have the best gig in the world…how much fun it is to be the person in the school who connects kids to books, new technologies, and the skills they need to navigate our social, online world.”