Campus Spotlight: Merriman Park LITE Excels At Deepening Connections

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In RISD, school librarians are known as LITEs, or Library and Information Technology Educators. All of the LITEs in RISD have classroom teaching experience and a master’s degree. April is National School Library Month, and RISD will be highlighting some of the wonderfully talented LITEs across the district all month.

Sarah Song has been the LITE as Merriman Park for two years, and has transformed the library into the place to be on the campus. Song taught kindergarten and fifth grade science and math in other districts before joining RISD. She taught second and fourth grade at Merriman Park before moving to the library. She loves supporting teachers and finding the right book for every student. The one book that ignites a passion in students.

“As a LITE I am able to work with teachers to extend the learning outside of the classroom,” Song said. “I am continuously developing our collections, planning with teachers, learning how to incorporate new – or new to me – technology. I try to help my teachers as much as possible, and I do my best to maintain a culture of reading at MPE. My teachers often come to me with a topic they’d like to coteach on or build a project on.”

She was the classroom teacher for the current sixth graders at MPE, and many of those students come to the library before class starts every day to help her stock shelves, set up book displays, and test out different activities Song wants to incorporate into lessons.

“These kids are so excited to walk into the library, and they carry a sense of ownership and responsibility when their class comes in for a lesson. I also love that this club gives me a chance to make deeper connections with students. I started the club as a way to stay connected to my former classroom students. I love being able to work with every student and see them grow throughout the years. I see their interests change, I see them fall in love with certain subjects and topics, and I’m able to take that information and use it to guide my lessons to best fit the interests of the students,” Song said.

Song incorporates coding, theatrics, and technology skills into lessons so students are exposed to more than books when they’re in the library.

Principal Stacey Marx said Song regularly works with classroom teachers to align library research skills with class-specific, hands-on projects. She uses cool technology, such as a video green screen and editing software to help students publish interesting research projects.

“Mrs. Song is a fantastic librarian,” Marx said. “Having taught in the building for several years prior to her becoming the librarian, she has developed strong relationships with lots of students and can be seen wearing so many hats around the building. She encourages the love of reading across all grade levels and inspires us all to be more voracious readers!”

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