Fisher Students Work to Complete the Vision of an Alum
Students in St. John Fisher College’s Graduate Library Media Studies (GLMS) Program have been hard at work finalizing a project in honor of a Fisher alum they never even knew.
Students Elizabeth LaPointe, Elizabeth Maurer, Anne Mumford, Andrea Popolizio, Jennifer Stamp, Jordan Brungard, and Jessica Mallis, under the direction of the program’s director Belinda O’Brien, have been working with the School of the Holy Childhood to complete the school’s new library that has been in the making for the past five years. It all began thanks to the late Michele Keihl ’07, a teacher at the school whose passion for her students and love of literacy was unmatched. As part of her master’s capstone project, Keihl aimed to improve the literacy skills among students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to her colleagues at Holy Childhood, her ultimate dream was to create a library at the school.
When Keihl suddenly passed away in 2010, school officials and staff vowed to see the project through in her memory.
The library is now “unofficially” open, and is being used for small classes and reading groups. But, there is still some work to be done. That is where the Fisher students come in.
They are currently working on the implementation of a cataloging circulation system that was donated to the school. It is the Follett Destiny System, and is one that O’Brien introduced at an American school in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she worked as a library media specialist for one year.
“Our students are using this new library as their classroom,” said O’Brien. “In addition to learning the Follett system and cataloging and processing all of the books, they will be deciding on signage and designing the library webpage. They will also teach professional development classes as the library unfolds. We have come a long way, but still have a ways to go.”
Mauer completed her undergraduate work at the State University of New York College at Brockport, where she earned her degree in Childhood Education before enrolling in Fisher’s program.
“This by far has been the most rewarding experience. Not only have I learned a great deal about creating a library and how to run a library, I know I am creating an environment that children will love,” she said. “As an educator it is exciting to know that I am helping a new group of students find joy in reading and discover the pleasure books can bring.”
Mumford, who graduated from Fisher with a degree in Childhood and Special Education, decided to pursue her graduate degree in Library Media Science and said this project has been a fantastic opportunity for her.
“It is unbelievable to be part of this wonderful transformation, and exciting as we get closer to September to see the reactions of the students,” she said. “It has been a great way to gain hands-on experience that allows us to excel by fully understanding how to create a modern day library with many different aspects integrated into the environment.”
Kathryn Miller, Assistant Principal at the School of the Holy Childhood, said after meeting with O’Brien and sharing the history and evolving vision for the library, it was obvious that she identified with an essential piece of Keihl’s dream.
“Michele would be thrilled to see where we stand today, thanks to the leadership provided by Belinda O'Brien and her team of students. Words cannot adequately express just how grateful we are to them,” said Miller. “Our students will reap the fruits of their labor and continue to expand their love of reading for years to come. This project also expands our ability to welcome visitors to join in our community by sharing their love of books, reading, and children. It is definitely a win-win for everyone involved.”
Fisher student Annie Mumford shows student Amber Coia how to log the book into the system.
From L to R: Jen Stamp, Kathryn Miller, and Annie Mumford.