April 26, 2017

Gina Seymour | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Change Agents

Gina Seymour


Library Media Specialist, Islip High School, NY


MLS, Queens College, CUNY, 1990


Seymour is currently working on a book, Makers with a Cause (Libraries Unlimited, due out in 2018)


@ginaseymour (Twitter); @IslipHighSchoolLibrary (Facebook); GinaSeymour.com

Photo by Patrick Heagney


Maker, with Care

Gina Seymour’s grandmother was a clerk at the Queens Borough Public Library, NY, and as a kid, Seymour spent many hours there. Unlike at school, where her book selections were limited to those with the “pukey green” level label, she says, at grandma’s library she could read any book and learn about experiences different from her own.

Seymour has turned her drive to see other people’s perspectives into the Maker Care initiative, which transforms teens’ proclivity for hands-on creation into community outreach. Staff, from teachers to custodians to secretaries, have joined with students in making blankets, sleep mats, therapeutic cushions, dresses, and toys for homeless people, breast cancer survivors, hospital patients, African school girls, and abandoned pets.

A local elementary school is now modeling its character education program after Maker Care. “It gives kids experience with circumstances they may be lucky enough not to know about. That builds empathy,” says Seymour. “Design thinking requires empathy.”

Seymour’s daily inspiration is “the inclusion aspect.” Many of the students participating in Maker Care are English-language learners or in special ed classes. “They’re usually the ones receiving services. They feel so good serving others. It’s those populations that drive me,” says Seymour.

Seymour’s focus is “spreading the love.” She wants to show librarians, especially those in public libraries working in teen services, how to replicate her model. “Now is the time for focusing on kindness and inclusion,” she says.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Stay Ahead of New Ways to Spark Engagement Through Hands-On Learning
Registration is now open for the fourth installment of Maker Workshop. Back with all new content, this 4-week online course will explore emerging technologies, digital making, STEAM, and web literacy spanning programs and ideas for all ages. This time, we’ll feature special sessions devoted to teen programming ideas and education that you can emulate at your school or public library.
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  1. Amie Wright says:

    Congratulations Gina! Very well deserved!

  2. Erin Marone says:

    Congrats Gina! Great to read this.

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