Ross Cannon, Library Media Specialist, King Philip Middle School
2. How did you come to librarianship?
A long and circuitous route. After graduating from UMass Boston in 2014 with a degree in English, I got trapped in a cycle of retail management jobs. I was immensely unhappy and unfulfilled. I tried, unsuccessfully, to break into the public library field because I saw an overlap there between my interests and desire to work in a role that felt more impactful. I figured receiving a Master's degree in Library Science might make obtaining employment in the field easier, so I enrolled at Simmons University in the School Library Teacher Program. I was lucky enough to receive a job offer just after graduation and I've been incredibly happy in my new career as a school librarian.
3. How would you explain the importance of your role to a nonlibrarian?
As a school librarian, my job is twofold: teaching and collection management and development. Both roles are equally important in my view. I strive to provide engaging materials, across modalities, to students to support their curricular needs and to promote recreational reading. I also recognize that even though my 7th and 8th graders are "digital natives," that doesn't always make them digitally literate or knowledgeable digital citizens. Our school library program aims to make sure that our students have the 21st century skills to responsibly and ethically engage with information and other people in digital environments.
4. What are you working on right now?
Inventory! I am the first certified librarian at King Philip since maybe forever, and the collection needs some love and attention. It's my hope to finish the inventory in the next few weeks so I can begin a diversity audit.
5. What is going well?
I am fortunate to have the buy-in and support of my administrators and many faculty members. I have also built some fantastic relationships with students.
6. What is the most challenging thing so far?
Displaying and explaining my value to faculty who have spent their teaching careers without the benefit of a librarian or strong library program. I'm optimistic, though. It's only year one, after all.
7. What's the most unexpected thing about your new job?
That I would become the de facto face of the tech department. I was asked within the first week or two of the school year to be the manage the school's loaner Chromebooks and ever since students have been sent to me with all sorts of tech issues.
8. What are you reading or watching?
I am on the reading committee for the MA Teen Choice Book Award, and in order to keep up with the reading requirements I'm currently juggling All the Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe (e-book), Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe (audiobook), and The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (print).
9. What do you hope the MA School Library Association can do for you?
The MSLA members email group has been a lifesaver! Our network of school librarians have proven to be invaluable in offering advice and answering questions. I look forward to connecting with many of these helpful and supremely knowledgeable individuals at the annual conference.