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March 8, 2011 > A teacher of many talents - Allyson McAuley

A teacher of many talents - Allyson McAuley

Spotlight on Irvington High School librarian

By Rajeswari Ramanathan

Most students remember a teacher for that one subject they taught. Some remember their junior high science teacher while others keep the high school drama teacher in their memory. Yet, at Irvington High School in Fremont, Library Media teacher Allyson McAuley is known by a diverse number of students from a variety of perspectives.

McAuley is a debate coach, French teacher, English teacher, a librarian, and a tech support. With no set career ambition after high school, she attended Pitzer College and UC Berkeley for an M.S. in Education. In fact, McAuley is still attending graduate school at San Jose State University. All she knew when she started college was she had a passion for English and children. So, in her junior year of college, she decided to combine her interests to become an English teacher. After years of teaching English and French, McAuley is now a librarian. But, she is no regular librarian.

"I teach information literacy, the skills people need to find, understand, and use all types of research resources-from the Internet and databases to books and periodicals," said McAuley. "This ain't your Grandma's library anymore-this is the 21st century library!"

As a Library Media Teacher, McAuley urges students to pick up a book and start reading. If they don't enjoy it, she encourages them to take another one. She wants to encourage students to find the books they like, but with the budget cuts hitting hard on libraries, McAuley's job has become much more difficult.

"As librarians, we only have time to check [materials] in and out," said McAuley. "We've lost resources too. We get less than a dollar per student per year to buy books; but if you have good librarians on a full time basis, they can actually bring in money through fundraising."

After school and during advisory periods, McAuley spends her time as the Co-Coach for the Speech and Debate team. A team of nine when she initially began eight years ago, Irvington's Speech and Debate has grown to become a team of over 100 people today. McAuley participated in speech, choir, and drama when she was in high school. In addition to working for the club, she also helps organize French Camp every year, and is the Webmaster for the Irvington High School website.

Her philosophy for living: "Life is too short and there are too many books out there to settle for one that doesn't speak to you."

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