Shawnee Sloop, Library Media Specialist, Fletcher Maynard School (Cambridge Public Schools)
2. How did you come to librarianship?
I’ve always been an avid reader and have fond memories of childhood visits to the local library. I studied English at the University of Delaware, and when I graduated I worked for a handful of years in marketing and social media. My experience in those roles left me feeling unfulfilled and without joy. As I took some time to think through what I wanted to do with my life (the age old question) my sister suggested I think about librarianship. I did some research and learned about the LIS program at Simmon University. From there, things just fell into place and I began my career in school librarianship.
3. How would you explain the importance of your role to a nonlibrarian?
The school library, and by extension the school library teacher plays an essential role in a child’s development and education. The library is much more than “the room with books.” In the library’s physical and digital spaces, students foster a love of literature, critical thinking skills, a growth mindset, and they are given the chance to enjoy their time in a safe space where all are welcome.
4. What are you working on right now?
This is my first year at FMA and so I have spent the better part of the year getting to know my new collection! I’m in the process of finishing up a collection analysis of the 500’s and even doing some collection maintenance.
5. What is going well?
Relationship building with students and staff is such an important part of this job. It is a service position after all! We serve the entire school community. I believe that my goal of taking time to connect with the school community is paying off.
6. What is the most challenging thing so far?
Being new is challenging anywhere, and I would say that the most challenging thing so far is just taking in all the new information and getting my footing. I finally feel like I’m getting comfortable and getting into my routine.
7. What's the most unexpected thing about your new job?
The most unexpected thing about my job is probably the number of times I hear my name repeated on a daily basis! It’s astounding how many questions students will direct at you.
8. What are you reading or watching?
I just started watching a Hulu miniseries called “Under the Banner of Heaven” which is based on the Jon Krakauer book of the same name. Definitely for fans of true-crime. I am currently reading Outlawed by Anna North, which is an alt-history, feminist fiction novel set in the wild west. It’s great so far!
9. What do you hope the MA School Library Association can do for you?
I feel so grateful for the MA School Library Association! It is such a wonderful community that I look to on a regular basis when I need to problem-solve, brainstorm ideas, or connect with MA school library peers. I hope that MSLA continues to be that resource for me throughout my career.