RCLC Spotlight: Angela Wojtecki
Angela Wojtecki, M.L.I.S., served as a Graduate Assistant for the Reinberger Children’s Library Center (RCLC) in 2008 and 2009 while working towards her graduate degree at Kent State University. Now, Angela is the district library media specialist for Nordonia Hills City Schools. She manages all six school libraries in the district and supports teachers with classroom technology integrations.
"The foundation that was built as part of my GA experience in the Reinberger was what I really needed to become the teacher, leader, innovator, and librarian I am today.”
THE RCLC STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE
During her time working with the RCLC, Angela worked under the supervision of Dr. Carolyn Brodie (now an iSchool Professor Emerita). As Angela describes Dr. Brodie, she is a “one-of-a-kind, rockstar librarian.” Angela still values the guidance she received from the professor. Angela says, “She showed me by her example that libraries are truly the best places to work in and that with dedication and passion (plus a little humor), we can achieve anything we set our minds to.”
Angela says that her time at the RCLC opened up a network of librarian professionals. For example, when she needs advice, Angela continues to turn to Dr. Meghan Harper, the current Director of the iSchool.
Angela also had the opportunity to lay the foundation for a lifelong friendship and work partnership with fellow Graduate Assistant Trent Roberts. They worked on multiple projects together for the RCLC and supported each other through grad school. “Having someone you can work with and take classes with was truly a blessing for us both!” says Angela. The two alumni join forces every year to present new tech tools at Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA) conferences.
Angela was a graduate assistant for the RCLC at a very exciting time for the center. The Marantz Picturebook Collection, a donation of over 25,000 picturebooks, was dedicated to the RCLC in December 2008. One of Angela’s favorite memories from her time as a graduate assistant was helping with the grand opening of the collection. She was able to experience the intake of thousands of books, helping the volunteers process, shelve, and cover all the new additions. After all her hard work, she had the opportunity to celebrate the unveiling with the collection’s donors, Ken and Sylvia Marantz.
As graduate assistants, Angela and Trent also had the experience of creating a cataloging tutorial for adding tags to MARC records. This tutorial is still shared in some of the iSchool’s cataloging classes. In addition, the RCLC hosted many in-person class visits and special events. The graduate assistants played a big part in preparing the RCLC for these events so that everything would run smoothly. Angela says that this particular experience helped to prepare her for her current work managing six school libraries.
Angela says that working on open-ended projects at the RCLC also pushed her to think outside of the box and develop problem-solving skills. The experience taught her the importance of creativity and initiative in today’s libraries and she says, “I am forever grateful for my experiences within the Reinberger.”
FAST FORWARD TO TODAY
A LASTING IMPACT
At this point in her career, Angela is living her professional dream. She’s grateful for her leadership position in her school district and feels respected by her colleagues. It’s “really what all of us want upon graduation and landing a librarian position,” Angela says.
Angela believes that her practical experiences at the RCLC helped her build the confidence and leadership skills that she needed along the way. She says, “The foundation that was built as part of my GA [graduate assistantship] experience in the Reinberger was what I really needed to become the teacher, leader, innovator, and librarian I am today.”
SERVICE TO THE LIS FIELD
Angela says that she is a “huge believer that we are in the profession of sharing.” She makes it a priority to attend and present at local and state educational conferences every year. She has presented on topics such as tech tools, library advocacy, and, most recently, ways to integrate more social emotional learning experiences in the school library environment. Angela also shares information on new digital resources with educators and librarians as a reviewer for School Library Media Connection magazine. She finds this work one of the most rewarding things she does as a professional librarian.
Angela has used her expertise in digital resources while serving on the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Best Digital Tools Award National Committee from 2019 to 2021. In the past, Angela used her leadership skills to serve as the 2015 President of OELMA. She hopes to continue professional service and would love to serve on another national awards committee through ALA or AASL.
Angela has received numerous accolades for her work in librarianship including the OELMA Outstanding School Librarian Award (2019), the Oxbridge Teacher Academy Oxford University Fellowship (2017), the Ohio Teacher of Excellence Award (2016), and the Kent State University’s Dan MacLachlan School Library Media Alumni Award (2010). Her work has received attention on multiple podcasts as well: Educational Duct Tape with Jake Miller, School Librarians United with Amy Hermon, and Better Learning Podcast.
ADVICE TO CURRENT STUDENTS
Angela’s main piece of advice is to take any available opportunity to get to know others at Kent State. “Network, network, network!” she says. “It is so important to get to know your peers, professors, and mentors because the library world is actually a really small world!” In addition, Angela urges students to seize any leadership experience. “Being able to demonstrate strong leadership skills is truly necessary to work in any type of library or education environment today,” she explains.
The iSchool is always here to support students with finding hands-on learning experiences that will enhance their learning. Students are encouraged to send inquiries about internships, volunteering, graduate assistantships, and research projects to their academic advisor or a faculty member that aligns with their professional interests. For more information about student learning opportunities at the RCLC, students may email Michelle Baldini (firstname.lastname@example.org).
POSTED: MONDAY, JULY 5, 2021 - 3:54 PM | WRITTEN BY: KAYLA HLAD