Kristin Thrower

School Librarianship alumna, Kristin Thrower, has an interesting observation about librarians, “There is a reason why there are so many librarians on Jeopardy.”

For Kristin, a librarian at Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield, the cross-disciplinary nature of the SLIB degree is what has enabled her to accomplish things such as co-founding a bookmobile and publishing two books of her own. 

“My graduate studies at Longwood guided me to success in my library - but the Longwood professors gave me the courage to think outside of the box and push boundaries. I left the Longwood SLIB program knowing I was a qualified school librarian and my role as a librarian extends beyond the library space,” Kristin says. “The idea of a library as a part of the community, both school and neighborhood, was the main motivator behind the idea of the bookmobile. If our students can’t come to us, then we need to go to them.”

The bookmobile in its current form began with a book and a vision. Kristin and her friend Lisa Signorelli, a fellow teacher at Falling Creek Middle School, were inspired by The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. The book describes a woman who rides a mule to distribute library books during the Great Depression. While Lisa had been hard at work at Falling Creek, establishing free libraries and delivering books to students after the COVID school closures, Kristin had also been setting up free libraries at her own school. One day the two women had a moment of clarity, and the bookmobile was born. 

Kristin explains, “We concentrate on the northeastern part of the county. Most of the students who come to the bookmobile attend schools in the Falling Creek Middle School and Meadowbrook High School zones. This was a way for us to interact with the students from our schools and a way for me, the high school librarian, to meet some of the new freshmen.”

Beyond the important face-to-face interaction, the bookmobile also serves another critical need during the complex times of COVID-19.

“When the schools decided to go all virtual, we had apartment buildings that were never wired for cable and therefore didn’t have access to the internet. We wanted to make sure our students didn’t feel completely left out and deserted during these difficult times,” Kristin says. “Additionally, our school zones are located in a ‘book desert’, and the need for accessing resources was and is critical.”

Kristin’s SLIB degree also enabled her to bring another vision to life. “As an avid reader I have always thought it would be cool to be an author, and now I have two published books. My first book is Miller & Rhoads Legendary Santa Claus (Dietz Press, 2001), and my second is a History Lover's Guide to Richmond (The History Press, 2021),” Kristin says.

Kristin says that her SLIB degree has given her every piece necessary for a career that she loves. “Each class offered me practical experience and knowledge that I apply daily in my role as a school librarian. I prepare lessons for all subjects and have learned so much from other subjects besides my history background,” Kristin says. “Thanks to SLIB, my job is the best job ever.”

We’ll take dream jobs for $1000 please, Alex.