Dawson Creek Secondary School South Peace campus teacher-librarian Jennifer Fox was recognized by the BC Teacher-Librarians Association as the best new teacher-librarian.
The award, handed out at the BCTLA conference in October 2018 in Richmond, recognizes a teacher-librarian with under five years of experience — Fox is in her fourth year as a teacher-librarian.
She came into the position with a five-year plan to open up the space in the library and make it more flexible for students needs. This vision was completed with the library now renovated with one more class space, laptops, rolling shelves and furniture, as well as comfortable seating areas and updated resources.
“[We renovated] the library to make it more of a learning hub for teachers to come in and students to come in, so we created different seating areas, we created flexible space, which means things can get moved around,utilized the way teachers need to do it, whatever activities they’re doing, if they’re doing presentations in here or students coming in for a place to be relaxed which is really nice,” Fox said.
“I think they’re really enjoying it and we get a lot of kids at lunch time as we allow kids to eat lunch in here and we get people coming in on their spares to use the space we have.”
Fox noted that they recycled some materials from another school, like counters for the computer lab.
She credits the school administration, staff, the school district, and facilities for working together to make the space a reality.
“A lot of people came together to make this space work.”
With the space in place, the focus is on technology — a makerspace is one of the plans — and Fox is working on implementing more inquiry-based learning.
“Critical thinking and inquiry based learning is an important element of the new curriculum that’s come out, and teacher-librarians are becoming more actively involved in supporting that,” she said.
While she’s a “new” teacher-librarian, she started teaching in Dawson Creek in 1990, and joined the South Peace campus 21 years ago as an English teacher.
“My original training before I became a teacher was an archivist, , so working with old documents, cataloguing them and things with that, so I was pretty comfortable being in a space that was like that,” she explained.
“I let administration know I was interested in it a long time ago and then literally one day I got a phone call saying would you like to take over the library, full time, we need somebody in there, and I said yes. I had one week before school started and that was it. It was just one of those things that was incredibly serendipitous.
Now, she’s involved with the local teacher-librarian association, as well as the BCTLA. Fox is currently working on her library diploma.
“It was like stepping into a dream job, just everything fell into place.”