February 17, 2018

Adam Marcus | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Community Builders

Adam Marcus


Teacher Assigned to the Library, P.S. 32, Brooklyn


Master’s in Elementary Education, Brooklyn College, CUNY, 2003


A lover of words and ideas, Marcus is cowriting a YA series and has stories, music, poetry, and more in the works. He engages in a daily meditation, yoga, spiritual, and gratitude project


@PS32Library (Twitter); www.ps32.org/library-resources/library-links; www.ps32.org/library-blog

Photo by Kevin Kerr

From Diapers to Dorms

As an insurance sales rep, Adam Marcus noticed he only seemed to enjoy his job when he trained other reps. “My wife and my friend’s wife told me that I would make a great teacher,” he recalls. After working as a New York City Teaching Fellow, Marcus moved to P.S. 32 in Brooklyn in 2003.

In 2009, Marcus was asked to restart the school’s long-disused library. When “his principal laughed” at the proposed $100,000 budget, Marcus formed a Library Advisory Committee; in six years, it raised more than $500,000 to transform the library into a place that kids flock to, with more than twice the space, triple the collection, and a tech lab.

“Adam has nearly single-handedly resurrected a school library while creating a culture of reading in our school. His ideas and creativity are boundless,” raves Melissa Leman, library media and curriculum technology specialist at P.S. 32, who was hired after Marcus advocated for the position.

Programs such as Diapers-to-Dormitories—for at-risk babies and preschoolers, providing children and their families with rich story time reading experiences, literacy-based puppet shows, theater, music, movement, and workshops for parents—and events like “Dahloween” and a reading marathon sustain engagement. “Adam makes literacy the ‘cool thing’ in our school,” says Leman. Marcus’s next project is a library annex at the Gowanus Houses, where many P.S. 32 students live. “[It’s] a way to get more of our at-risk families to participate in our school and library,” he says. The project is currently held up in housing authority bureaucracy. “I thought the plan was dead several times,” says Marcus, but he’s not giving up.

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