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Feature Teacher HCS: Shades Mountain Elementary's Marjorie Ross

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02-27-2013 (SMES) - Twenty-five years and going strong, Marjorie Ross hasn't missed a beat as a Hoover City Schools elementary librarian. Ross 
has a clear passion for teaching children all about reading and writing - and makes sure that passion is shared everyday at Shades Mountain Elementary.

Q: What is your current position; for how long have you held it and what exactly do you do on a daily basis?

A: My current position is librarian at Shades Mountain Elementary School. I have been at Shades Mountain Elementary School since 1994.  Before that I was the librarian at Green Valley Elementary School. Daily tasks – Confer with teachers on resource materials to support the school curriculum, work with students who are involved in research activities, assist students in selection of a library book, provide story time for students, check-in and check-out library materials, shelve books, fix the laminator and be the Big Bad Wolf in the kindergarten teachers production of "The Three Little Pigs."

Q: How long have you been with SMES/HCS?

A: I started with Hoover City Schools in 1988 as the librarian at Green Valley and then transferred to Shades Mountain in 1994. This is my 25th year with Hoover City Schools.

Q: How long have you been in education?

A: Before Hoover I worked for two years as an elementary school librarian with Tuscaloosa City Schools, so I have 27 years in education.

Q: What is the most interesting thing about your job?

A: Children! They get excited about reading, they laugh along with you if you are reading a funny story, their eyes light up when you put a book in their hand that they have been searching for - or when they find their research information on the computer, their Nook or in the encyclopedia. Children’s enthusiasm is contagious.

Q: How has your position changed with the advent of e-books, Overdrive, etc.? Do students seem to be adapting to the new technologies?

A: Libraries have always embraced new technologies, just as schools have. It is just a different way of arriving at the answer. When I first started, of course we had the card catalog and that was how we started our research projects. Thank goodness for technology! My position will always be to assist students and teachers in locating materials, research information, etc. to complete their goals. My tools now and in the future will be different. The electronic devices have already opened a world of portability and also other aspects, like increasing font size for a visually handicapped child. Since 1988, the Hoover City Schools district librarians have always met monthly to discuss everything from how we are going to go digital, (leaving the card catalog behind) to how we will tackle Overdrive and support Common Core Standards. Hoover City Schools has always been a leader in the technology field and so have our libraries. The librarians work closely as a group so Hoover City School students and faculty will become knowledgeable about emerging technologies and apply them to their curriculum goals. With these new tools, our position as librarians becomes more global. I think students are adapting well to the new technologies, but along with the technology, they will need librarians and teachers to help navigate them on their journey.

Q: What should be long term goals for any library as things evolve?

A: As things evolve, libraries and librarians need to be at the forefront to guide students to the correct answers. While the openness of the Internet has allowed free exchange of information, it has also brought a large amount of misinformation. It is our job to help lead students in the right direction, to locate correct answers via reliable information. The portability of electronic devices takes the school library catalog directly to a child wherever he is located. It is also easy to quickly change font sizes for a visually handicapped student. The electronic devices enable educators to teach to a variety of different learning styles. But we cannot forget the books or leave them behind - when the lights go out or the computer isn’t working, children will still need books.  A love of reading is the most important thing you can instill in a child.

Q: What is your hometown and where did you go to school?

A: My hometown is Grand Bay, Ala., a small town located in south Alabama on the AL/MS state line. I graduated from the University of South Alabama and I received my Master's at UAB.

Q: What do you like to do outside of Hoover City Schools?

A: I enjoy traveling, crafts, movies, and exploring around Birmingham/Hoover. I am a big fan of the Hoover Public Library, Aldridge Gardens, Birmingham Zoo, Oak Mountain State Park, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Bluff Park Art Show and Hoover Parks and Recreation.

Q: Anything else interesting people may not know about you?

A: I have an after school Writer’s Club that I enjoy working with students in 4th and 5th grade on a variety of writing activities. Right now we are working on a screen play with the Technology Club that we hope to produce on our morning broadcast show. I have written a book - Emma Sansom, Confederate Heroine - which was published by Seacoast Publishing and it is a part of the Alabama roots biography series.

-Jason Gaston/HCS Public Relations

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