Kristina A. Holzweiss
What was your first library job?
My very first school library media specialist position was at Copiague Middle School After teaching seventh grade English for nine years, I felt that I could have a more wide-reaching effect on students by serving an entire student body and faculty. It was a smooth transition for me because I had always taught in a middle school.
Why are you proud to be a librarian?
I’m proud to be a school library media specialist because I am able to support my staff. I help them through ordering the appropriate resources for their curriculum, sharing new ideas and web tools, and teaching their students information literacy and research skills. I especially enjoy working with all types of students in various grade levels. It makes my day when my students think that our library program is “cool,” “fun,” and “exciting.”
How do you stay inspired?
I follow many school library media specialists, public librarians, and classroom educators through Twitter, Voxer, and Facebook. I also enjoy attending our Eastern Suffolk BOCES meetings as well as conferences, so that I can connect with local colleagues. This year I am looking forward to connecting with members of my PLN in person at ISTE in Philly. There are so many innovative educators around the nation and the world. The joy of learning something new keeps me going!
What do you do for fun? What’s one thing people wouldn’t guess about you?
I really enjoy traveling and crafting. My husband and I traveled to many National Parks out west, as well as South Korea and China where we adopted our three children. I love finding crafts for my children and I to do together that involve using recycled materials.
Describe your best day at the library. What made it memorable?
Recently, I created a Genius Hour program in our library. Sixth grade students visit for about a week to learn about moviemaking, robotics, electricity, art, and other interests. This has been my best year ever because I have created a makerspace in our library. I am also proud that I was part of a team of other educators and school library media specialists who created SLIME (Students of Long Island Maker Expo), the first ever school-based maker expo on Long Island, NY.
Our first SLIME expo was attended by about 400 students, teachers, parents, and administrators from local districts. Although there are some things that I would like to improve for next year, I am pleased with our success. I am in the process of applying for official MakerFaire status for next year.
What are your favorite Demco products? (Oldies but goodies and newbies welcome.)
I love the Duck, Duck Dewey bookmarks, lesson book, posters, and vinyl ducks! These ducks make it so easy and fun for students to visualize the different range numbers and subject headings of nonfiction books. You might think that my middle school students are too mature for incentives, but the scratch-and-sniff bookmarks are a hit!
If the sky were the limit, what would you do at your library?
Since I already have begun creating a makerspace in my school library media center, I would love to incorporate new furniture that reflects the fun vibe in this space. The makerspace of my dreams would have modern seating and interactive tables that could be changed based on the activity. I would also like to incorporate chalkboard tape and dry erase writing surfaces so my students could collaborate with one another. Lastly, I would add some stand-up desks so my students could improve their health and posture while learning.
How do you envision your library in 2025?
I can’t imagine what the next 10 years will bring in libraries, education, and technology. I think that flexibility is what I am looking forward to in terms of modular seating, movable bookcases, BYOD stations, and changeable room dividers. I realize that these items are available now, but perhaps architects and engineers can develop ways for them to be fully-integrated in future library renovations. The walls among many classrooms are now, metaphorically, being broken down. Perhaps in the future, real walls can become movable to create classrooms around a central library learning commons.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for your fellow librarians?
I think that school library media specialists and librarians need to advocate for their profession. Many people don’t realize all of the hats that we wear during the day and, therefore, can’t appreciate the impact we have on our students’ education. We need to become more vocal and visual in our schools and communities. We need to demonstrate how our programs are important for helping students to develop into curious lifelong learners and readers.