NMS library media specialist hits the ground running

COURTESY OF BRENDA SCHOOL

When Sam Lovejoy started as the library media specialist at Newark Middle School this past February, the library had been closed for more than a year amid COVID concerns. 

Lovejoy, who worked at Rochester Public Library as a library assistant and special events coordinator during graduate school, immediately learned about and implemented COVID guidelines and precautions so the library could reopen for students to check out books safely.

“We quarantine books for two days prior to them going back on the shelves and wipe down the covers, so that there is no chance of germ transmission,” he said. 

Sam Lovejoy.

Next, Lovejoy “flipped the library” by relocating the larger fiction section closer to the entrance and front desk, in case students need his help in finding a book. The south side of the library now is used for classroom space when the number of students in classrooms exceeds COVID guidelines. Lovejoy also uses the space to teach classes on researching skills, information literacy and digital citizenship. 

“I love to teach and teach from the library,” he said. “It’s a place where students can learn almost any type of curriculum and having a dedicated space with updated technological resources was a priority for me. The IT folks installed a Smart Board for me that allows me to teach using the most updated methods.”

The library at Newark Middle School reopens to students with COVID guidelines and precautions in place.

The TV studio is up and running again. Morning announcements featuring two different student crews are broadcasting three to four minutes of news and announcements at 7:40 a.m. twice a week from their studio attached to the library.

“Students are pretty much in charge of the entire operation,’’ Lovejoy said. “It’s been awesome to watch them and actually manage the production.”

A historic Newark clock in the front portico is once again telling time.

“We are fortunate enough here at Newark Middle School to be in possession of a clock that has deep ties into Newark history,” Lovejoy said. “It wasn’t operational when I arrived and after asking around, I found that the maintenance staff had an extra set of keys. They were gracious enough to train me on how to wind and maintain the clock.”

His future plans include getting a second Smart Board installed in the back of the library, and having a second classroom setup where teachers can sign out the space and use it for instruction.

Sam Lovejoy, library media specialist, with the historic clock on display in the Newark Middle School Library.

“In his short time here, he has done an amazing job of building connections and relationships with students and staff,” Principal Teresa Prinzi said. “He is enthusiastic and passionate about helping our students find success. Mr. Lovejoy has revitalized the appearance and energy in our media center and TV studio, and has truly created a warm and welcoming environment for all.”