Interview With a Christian School Librarian: Dorinda Koelewyn

The “Interview with a Christian School Librarian” is a series that features Christian school librarians and school library staff (both active and retired) from all over the world.  The goal of this series is create a sense of community among Christian school librarians and to share our professional wisdom.

Dorinda Koelewyn is the Library Media Teacher at Central Valley Christian School in Visalia, California.

How long have you worked in libraries and how did you get your start?

I began as a part time home economics teacher.  The high school asked if I would “take care of the library”.  They gave me one or two periods to do that.  A volunteer parent told me about the teacher librarian credential through Fresno Pacific so I earned my credential and soon became a full time library media teacher.  I’ve been here over 20 years and love it!

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

It’s a great day when students are successful in finding the information they need.  I teach them search strategies and when they use them and are excited about finding what they need, I’m very happy.

What’s your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is to keep up with the workload.  It’s just me and student aids who come 2 periods a day.  I have new and donated books to catalog, lessons to prepare, books to buy and students to watch.  I need time to research how and when to begin checking out ebooks and other techy things like that.   I also “do” the yearbook, which is a big job.

What advice would you give to someone just starting off?

I’d advise anyone new to the library to get a library teaching credential.  It will give you the right framework for everything you do in the library.  Also keep up learning, join CSLA or CUE.

What are some of the issues you deal with that you feel are unique to Christian school librarians?

I don’t think there are any issues unique to a Christian school librarian.  I think public school librarians have many more issues to deal with.

Do you have any thoughts on how Christian librarians in secular schools can be lights for Christ while adhering to workplace rules about sharing our faith?

Your attitude and actions with your students will always show you’re a Christian, if you are in a Christian school, or not.

Many thanks to Dorinda for taking the time to answer my questions and share her thoughts!   If you’d like to be interviewed for this series, click here to let me know about your interest!

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