Teacher of the Week: Mary McMillen

Teacher of the Week: Mary McMillen

Meet MARY McMILLEN, a 22-year librarian at St. Matthew Catholic School who's retiring at the end of this year. And then?

"I'm looking forward to reading — of course, traveling, spending time with my grandkids," she said. "I have extended family all over the globe. I also go horseback riding, and I would enjoy getting my two grandsons interested in that."

Here's more:

The best thing about working in the library is ... seeing kids get excited about books, about reading, about the interesting things they can find out in books. I had one little boy tell me he couldn't find anything interesting to read.

So I told him, "Well, that's because you didn't find this book," and I handed him a book on Monster Heroes, and then he became a little more excited about the reading process.

The best thing about my school library is ... since we're faith-based, we can teach our values. We can curate our collection, keeping those values in mind. Because of that, we're free to discuss so many situations because we can put them in a spiritual context.

The funniest question I've fielded on the job was ... when a student asked if I had a cookbook with all the recipes in the world. I said, "That would be a big book."

Some of the most popular books among my students are ... graphic novels. In the nonfiction realm, dinosaurs and sharks are always popular.

One thing people take for granted about my line of work is ... being a librarian means having a little handle on a lot of things. I think it's important to try to stay in touch with your local community and what is happening on national and global levels so that you can help kids choose materials that will help them understand current events.

A recent book I shared with students was ... a new book called "Twelve Days in May," about the freedom rides of 1961. This, of course, is ancient history to them because it happened so long ago. But I want them to see the connection between the work that was done 50, 60 years ago and how that relates to events today.

What I'll miss most after retiring is ... coming in in the morning and seeing the kids all energized and excited to start their day. There's a lot of energy there, and it's exhilarating — exhausting but exhilarating.

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