ALSC Voices | May 2017

ALSC Profile

Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more of ALSC membership

Photo of Marsha Stewart

Marsha Stewart
School Librarian
Ancona School, Chicago
ALSC membership: 25 years 
Where do you currently work?
The Ancona School is an independent, Montessori based pre-primary through middle school that follows the tradition of progressive education.
Where did you attend library school?
I attended the University of Michigan
What was your very first library position? 
My first library position was serendipitous. After receiving my degree I was unable to find a position in the special library field. I decided to move back home with the support of my parents and continued my job search. This decision led me back to the very library I grew up using and where I had served as a page during high school. I ran into the Director and we chatted about what I had been doing the last few years. I told her I had just graduated from library school and was looking for a job. She asked me if I had considered children's services and that there was an opening. I interviewed and was offered the position. That was the beginning a long career in serving the needs of children.  
What do you love most about your job?
The thing I love most is working with the students. I really enjoy introducing them to great books and exposing them to new resources and information. I also love integrating technology into their library experience.
What’s your favorite myth, legend, or fairy tale? 
My favorite is Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe. I had the privilege of hosting an author visit with Mr. Steptoe as he was promoting The Story of Jumping Mouse. We had dinner together and he was really excited about his new project, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. He said this book would be a departure from his previous work. He was right. Not only were the illustrations magnificent, the retelling of the Cinderella story in an African setting was groundbreaking. It was wonderful to see people of color represented in such a beautiful way.
What was the single-most influential event in your lifetime? 
The single-most influential event in my lifetime was my first children's librarian position. I knew I wanted to be a librarian, but had never considered children's services. Serving children has become my life's passion. I look forward to going to work everyday. I learn something new every day and I am always excited to share what I have learned with my students.
If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would you be?
I would love to return to South Africa. My first trip was to build homes with Habitat for Humanity in Orange Township. It was so gratifying to work with the families that would receive these homes and to be the recipient of their hospitality. I also had an opportunity to teach at the Mveledzandivho Primary School in Soweto Township. Both were beautiful and fulfilling experiences that I will never forget.

Delighting with 2017 YMA Winners

Screen shot of YouTube reaction videos page
Children’s book lovers everywhere anticipate and revel in the excitement of the ALA Youth Media Award announcements every January. Will my favorite illustrator receive a Caldecott? Who will win the Belpré this year? It's a thrilling time! But, how must it feel to be an award winner?! No need to imagine. Many of ALSC’s 2017 award winners have shared their thoughts and feelings in personal videos. Be sure to enjoy the heartfelt responses from creators including Nikki Grimes, Alexandra Diaz, R. Gregory Christie, and others. Watch the videos on YouTube.