School libraries inspire and welcome everyone! They are safe havens!
Blake Hopper is the librarian at Powell Valley Elementary AND Powell Valley Middle in Speedwell, Tennessee. Fun fact: He’s the librarian where he attended elementary and middle school! You can catch Blake at TASL events, as he is the past President of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians, and you can catch him at ALA and AASL events, as he is an AASL Affiliate Chair Elect. Blake is an avid and vocal supporter of school librarians in Tennessee and is regularly reaching out to legislators and decision makers about the value of school libraries. When he’s not busy being a librarian, he’s busy on the court, coaching basketball at his school! Meet Blake!
How long have you been a librarian?
I have been a librarian for 5 years. Wow! I’m getting old! I taught in the classroom one year. This my 6th year in education.
What do you enjoy most about being a librarian?
Can I enjoy everything?! Okay, well maybe not shelving all the books. I love book talks, connecting students with books they fall in love with, helping students be creative, and collaborating with all the great faculty members at my school.
What is an activity, event, or lesson you enjoy doing with students?
I love research! I love helping student locate information. I love helping them create their projects. I also love planning Dr. Seuss Week. Even my middle school kids love the week. They just don’t want to admit it!
How do you partner with or collaborate with faculty?
I’m consistently looking at standards to see what I can help with. I also talk to them or shoot them an email. I have been known to chase people down with ideas. I have worked hard to build a collaborative relationship with my fellow faculty members. I think they now trust me! Remember, teachers are under a lot of stress. Let them know we can help!
What challenges do you regularly face and how do you overcome them or handle them?
Time. Time is such a challenge. I feel like I also have a to do list. I have learned to take it one day at a time. Do not get burned out.
How has your job changed over the years?
Every year is different. Different rules, standards, people, books, and technology. Do not be afraid of change. Change keeps our job interesting.
Why do you enjoy being a teacher/ librarian?
I love seeing students grow and learn. I love being a part of such a fantastic community. I am the librarian at the elementary and middle school I attended.
What advice do you have to share with librarians?
Join TASL and AASL! You will get connected with so many great librarians. Also, do not become overwhelmed. Many things will be coming at you. Take it one step at a time. If you can get in the library early, do it. Make a plan. Stick to the plan. The first thing I wanted to do was make the library inviting.
What inspires you and helps challenge you to grow professionally?
My associations! TASL and AASL have helped me connect and make life long friends who challenge me to be better every day.
Thank you, Blake, for answering my questions!
Follow Blake online: Twitter: @pvslibrarian, Instagram: @blakehopper