It’s fun when your cat has friends you didn’t know about. Frau Carol Connor, the librarian at Fairview German Language School, reached out to me that she knows our cat Freddy.
(If you’re wondering if this blog is starting to be a book/cat blog…who knows!?)
Frau Connor volunteers at Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay & Neuter Clinic (OAR) and saw that we had adopted Freddy. (She also knows Max and Calvin from school.)
“He’s special and a snazzy dresser,” she wrote. (Freddy used to wear a sweater due to his neck wounds.)
I had to take the opportunity to connect with her about cats, books and missing her students.
What are you missing about your library right now?
I am missing seeing 733 faces a week! I miss the regular students who come into the library every morning before school and exchange books.
I miss reading books to kindergarten and first graders and hearing them laugh.
I miss connecting students with books I think and hope they will love! I miss teaching students how to find books, use books for information, connect books to other aspects of their lives and I miss sharing the love of books with anyone who wants to come into my classroom. Gosh, right now, I even miss re-shelving books! Well, maybe not…
Any reading suggestions for students?
Keep reading! Many students have books checked out from my library and I encourage them to read them again or read them to a sibling!
- They can access ebooks that we have in our collection as well as many more from the public library.
- Students need to check the various platforms their schools are using; Schoology, Google Classroom, Class Dojo, etc., to find all kinds of links or postings of these sites as well as sites where authors are reading their own books. I hope to record myself reading and then post those too!
- April is National Poetry Month and I have been posting poems and encouraging students to write poetry. What a wonderful way to express our feelings and emotions about this trying time with poetry. Poetry is a way to share a good laugh with poets like Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein.
Just know that your teachers and librarians are working so hard to ensure that you are connecting with them and continuing to learn and grow.
We care about you so much and want to make sure we are enriching your lives as much as possible even though we are not together face-to- face.
Why did you become a school librarian? How long have you been a librarian?
Fourteen years now. Librarian is actually my second career. I worked in engineering for a large utility company until I married and started a family. While at home with my three kids, I earned master’s degrees in English and education and started teaching part time at a couple of universities in Cincinnati.
I absolutely fell in love with the library at Xavier University and made many friends there. I decided that I wanted to be librarian and my friend told me how. It was another master’s degree (!) but I went back to school once more. I started working at a public library as a children’s librarian and loved it. I found myself visiting schools and supplementing the need for librarians, as the need for school librarians was at an all-time high. I was able to secure a position with Cincinnati Public Schools and now have a wonderful career at a school I love.
Please name a couple of your favorite children’s books.
Wow, that’s like naming your favorite child!
- My all-time favorite book is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.
- A close second (because it mirrors the first) is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.
- I’ll name some favorite authors/illustrators – A.A. Milne, Sandra Boynton, Mo Willems, Eric Carle, Chris van Allsburg, Kadir Nelson, Jerry Pinkney, JK Rowling.
Let’s talk about your love of cats – how long have you been volunteering at OAR?
I started volunteering at OAR in September 2019. I have a good friend that has volunteered with them for years and she would reach out to me if they needed supplies, towels for surgery or food. I gave when I could or donated through Amazon.
This past fall, all of my children were off to college or on their own and I found that I had time to really contribute to OAR. I decided to start small with cat care, a once-a-week cleaning opportunity. We have a set team each Sunday morning and a great leader, Liz. I love to sing to the cats as I clean their rooms and then cuddle and play with them afterward.
I feel it’s important to reassure them that they are in a place that is safe and where they are loved.
I also volunteer as an Adoption Host, which means you work at the shelter during adoption hours and talk about the various cats and try to match potential new owners to the perfect cat for them. It is so wonderful to see cats that may have been abandoned, stray or once feral, or sent to shelters for possible euthanasia, find a perfect home where they can feel safe and loved.
How did you start volunteering? What are the names of your three cats?
My friend encouraged me to start volunteering and I am so glad I did. One danger is that you want to bring home every cat you work with. I am so happy to see my little friends get adopted but have cried many happy tears when they leave the shelter because I will miss seeing them. I have always had a cat since I was seven years old. I am very partial to black and white cats because that was the color of my first!
- I have had many cats in my life and currently have Oliver, 14, a big grey tom, who was dumped off with a litter at my veterinarian’s office.
- Maggie, 13, adopted me as a kitten when she walked into my daughter’s school while I was hosting the book fair. Maggie loves my computer and often joins me in my virtual meetings with other teachers and librarians. She loves to play the virtual cat games on my Ipad.
- A solid black grand cat, Waldo, 2, who was found in a Walmart parking lot as a tiny kitten.
Thanks, Frau Connor. Stay safe.
Now for the books
Back when my kids were in first grade, I wrote about volunteering at the school library. (It’s a pandemic – I’m trying to keep you entertained!)
My book club
My book club met virtually last night to discuss The Glass Hotel (thumbs-up). We had a surprise guest – our friend, Claudia, who moved to Woodstock, NY two years ago. A bonus of the pandemic? Claudia is picking our next book and joining us again on Zoom. It was fairly easy to pick a date this time – our calendars are open. 😉
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!