Claybar takes on new role as librarian

Melanie+Claybar+has+taught+English+for+the+past+12+years+and+is+now+taking+on+a+new+role+as+the+librarian.+

Aaliyah LeCompte

Melanie Claybar has taught English for the past 12 years and is now taking on a new role as the librarian.

Savannah Crabtree, Writer

A new year brings change and new beginnings, especially for English teacher Melanie Claybar. She has begun her transition into a new position as the librarian of the high school campus. Although Claybar is new to the library, she has worked as a teacher in the district for 12 years. 

According to Claybar, she loves reading and technology, so the library is her ideal place to blend those two interests. She said even though she was a prolific reader as a child, she did not read much for pleasure during her college years or as she was starting her family.

“About ten years ago, I rediscovered my passion for books and read as much as I can fit in a day,” Claybar said. “I have served as a technology mentor for our campus the past few years and I enjoy helping teachers integrate technology in their classrooms and helping students who often tell me they hate computers. Ms. (Charlette) Roddy, the previous librarian, encouraged me to pursue the profession and she was an incredible mentor to me. I had not considered it before her suggestion, but in hindsight it’s probably inevitable that I became a librarian because my mom said I use to alphabetize and categorize my Golden Books as a child.” 

In hindsight it’s probably inevitable that I became a librarian.”

Claybar earned her master’s in Library Science from the University of North Texas, which an online program that took her about two years to complete to get certified as a K-12 librarian.

“It was a challenge working full-time, being a mom, and going to school, and then Hurricane Harvey happened in the middle of my program, but it was worth it,” she said. “I’m so grateful I had a supportive husband and family to help pick up the slack.”

Although Claybar feels the school already has a fantastic library, she would like to add more eBook options and a student workspace where students can complete projects. She also said another long-term goal is to add some art and additional seating options throughout the library, as well as increasing the graphic novel section.

“Graphic novels get a bad rap sometimes, but they are wonderful pieces of literature,” she said. “Several classic titles like ‘The Odyssey,’ ‘Romeo & Juliet,’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ have been made into graphic novels and many contemporary novels are being released as well such as Jason Reynolds’ ‘Long Way Down.'”

The library currently features several services that students may not be aware of, such as a copier that has color printing and scanning capabilities. Claybar said she does her best to have a current selection of novels from popular authors and award winners like the Teen’s Top 10 and TAYSHAS reading lists. Students can also request books to be added to this collection. The library also has access to the state funded digital sources which include research databases like those used in universities.

“There are also resources for trade professions and state testing,” Claybar said. “This is just another way our campus ensures our students are college and career ready.”

Claybar said she will miss getting to know her students in the classroom, but she looks forward to getting to know students from all grade levels and serving the entire school.

I believe the library is the heart of the school.”

“By the end of a school year you really become a family unit,” she said of teaching her English classes. “It is so rewarding to see former students succeeding and thriving after graduation. Some even have families of their own now and it’s so fun to see them in this new role.”

During her move from the classroom to the library, Claybar said she was sad to pack up everything she had accumulated during the past 12 years and admitted that even though change is a little scary, she is optimistic about her new position.

“I’m excited to be in the library and make it a showcase for the campus,” she said. “I believe the library is the heart of the school and ours is no exception.”