Oak Park employee named Librarian of the Year

By By Nichole Osinski / American Press

Oak Park Middle School’s Melony LeMay, MLIS, can add “Librarian of the Year” to her already long list of credentials.

The school library media specialist was recently given this title for the 2012-2013 season after parents, students and teachers

nominated her.

“I consider it an honor and that I am

representing all the librarians in the area,” LeMay said. “I’m a big

advocate of information

literacy and students need to know how to use the library

properly.”

LeMay’s experience comes from 22 years of professional teaching experience, with 16 at Oak Park.

Getting students to read and use the library has been LeMay’s central focus. To prepare for that role, she returned to school

to get her master’s in Library & Information Science from LSU in 2011.

She also received a full scholarship

from the Project Recovery, Laura Bush Foundation. It recruits and

educates librarians

to help in communities that are short-staffed due to the flooding

and hurricane in 2005. LeMay is actively involved with both

the Louisiana Library Association and the American Library

Association. Those professional organizations have provided her

with outlets to work with other librarians across the state to

find ways to improve education for teens.

“She does things like having parent

volunteers come in and putting pictures of students on desktops so they

feel that they’re

important when they go in the library,” said Calcasieu Parish

School System Library consultant Helen Curol, MLIS. “She is

a can-do person; there is nothing too big or too small that she

says ‘I can’t do that’ — she tackles everything that anybody

asks her to do.”

On a local level, LeMay can be found

looking for new books that she thinks might interest students and

encourage them to read.

She incorporates parents into the reading system with family

reading nights and sponsors a School Library Club. Outside of

the school’s library, LeMay is continually involved with

reading-related events such as the Louisiana Association of Library

and Media Professionals, the Region 5 Technology & Training

Conference and the National Middle School Association.

For the students at her school LeMay

tries to not only instill a love of reading but provide a place they can

enjoy the books.

She decorates the library in a way that is both inviting and warm —

more like a coffee shop than simply a room with shelved

books.

Because of LeMay’s efforts, the school has seen positive results and during the 2011-2012 year had a per-capita average of

47 books read by students — the second-highest among middle schools.

Now she has been nominated through LLA for the LASL School Media Specialist of the Year to represent Calcasieu Parish. In

the meantime, she plans to continue making the library and its books a place students enjoy.

“I want to motivate them to read and to develop a lifelong love of reading and learning,” she said. “If you can discover what

a teen likes and what their interests are, you can get them hooked on reading — it’s a challenge to me.”