AAPS Library Services Department
May/June 2021 Vol. 6
Meet the Librarian: Lisa Pham, Bach Elementary School
Where did you grow up? How many siblings? Where did you go to school? What is your career path, and how long have you been in your current job? Family you want to mention by name (or not by name, as you wish)? Pets? Hobbies, passions, etc. Education, degrees..
My name is Lisa Pham (it rhymes with “mom”). I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and have been in the education field for over two decades. In 1999, I graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education from Northern Kentucky University. As my teaching experience broadened, so did my technology skills. What started as 8 years in the elementary classroom moved to online teaching and curriculum development. My experience in helping other teachers with technology in after school workshops led to my becoming a certified SMART Board trainer running professional development sessions for teachers across multiple states. Heading back to the classroom I took on a role of middle school technology teacher and librarian. It was then I was able to begin merging my passion for technology, thirst for books, and excitement for research and output it into the lives of students and teachers.
My role then shifted over the next 5 years to primarily that of a technology teacher.
Since my family moved to Michigan in 2016, I wanted to get back into a similar librarian role, but desired more formal training from an ALA accredited school. I started pursuing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science in August 2017 and graduated 16 months later from the University of Missouri in December 2018. I joined Ann Arbor Public Schools in February 2019 as the librarian at Bach and Angell Elementaries. I am the Elementary Librarian TLN department chair, supporting the 17 librarians and two long-term substitutes, in the 21 elementaries.
My husband, Phi, and I live in Dexter with our four kids: Calvin, Oliver, Larkin, and McKinley. I am active in my local church, enjoy attending my kids’ sporting events, spending time outdoors taking walks and biking with my family, and cooking Vietnamese food.
Why are school libraries so important?
The first word that comes to mind when thinking about a school library is books. School libraries are not only important for inspiring the joy of reading, but a critical part of student achievement. Across the country, studies have shown that reading scores are significantly higher in schools where full-time certified school librarians spend more time teaching information literacy through inquiry learning and collaborating with teachers. Currently, nearly a third of the AAPS elementaries do not have a full-time librarian. This, along with a fixed schedule, makes impactful collaboration with students and teachers difficult. There are three bills being proposed right now in the MI House that address this exact dilemma and I encourage anyone who would like to support our school libraries to consider reaching out to their local representative....
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