What librarian mentor has played a role in your professional life?
I was first introduced to the American Library Association as a University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science graduate student in 2002. After graduation I continued my professional memberships, selecting ALSC and AASL as my two focus areas. Sandy Ireland, my Children’s Literature professor and first librarian mentor, encouraged me to pursue a career as a school librarian and recommended that I also join our state school librarian organization. I joined KASL (well KSMA back then) in 2004 when I started my first year as the school librarian for The Lexington School; however, it wasn’t until I meet Evie Topcik during an AASL independent school section (ISS) meeting at the 2007 ALA Annual conference in Washington, D.C. that I became active in our organization. She was the President-Elect at the time and asked me if I would be interested in serving on her board…I said yes! I learned a lot over those years, mainly from attending board meetings and observing how KASL ran. KASL President Janet Wells has been one of my most encouraging mentors. She asked me to serve as the Awards Chair, and I would not have been as successful without her guidance. Whether you’re on the board or not, every KASL member should attend a board meeting at some point. They are open meetings, and you never know…you might be inspired to join the board!
Describe how you stay passionate about your job in the library.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Steve Jobs, October 5, 2013
My mother often joked that I was going to be a “professional student” when I grew up. While I didn’t figure out how to make that happen, I think I found the next best thing. I love being a school librarian. I love that I get to watch my students grow from adorable little three year olds to amazing eighth graders that are about to “graduate” from our school and move on to high school. I want to be the best that I can be for these students, and this desire drives me to continually learn and challenge myself. To facilitate this continuing education, I have joined the KyLChat twitter chats, attended conferences like our summer refreshers, watched webinars, joined the KYLMS listserv, and subscribed to a number of professional blogs.
Serving on the ALSC 2018 Newbery Committee
Serving on the Newbery Committee was a dream that began in Sandy Ireland’s LIS 510 class. I joined ALSC and served on several different committees over the years —my most recent was chairing the Liaisons to National Organization committee. I had just come off that committee when I resubmitted my volunteer form. I was shocked when they asked me to serve on the 2018 Newbery committee! This whole year has been amazing, but also an incredibly hard journey. I’ve never been more exhausted than I have these past few months. There were times I thought I had ruined my eyesight and I had headaches that lasted for days, but never once did I ever regret my decision to accept the position. I’ve made new friendships and I’ve learned so much. It was an opportunity of a lifetime, and one that I hope every librarian that dreams of it can experience.
Lori Coffey Hancock
2018 Newbery Committee member
School Librarian, The Lexington School