Archive for Saturday, March 9, 1996

LIBRARIAN WRITES THE BOOK ON CREATIVITY

March 9, 1996

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Margie Coggins, the 1996 Lawrence Master Teacher, takes her job seriously.

Margie Coggins' favorite school library is at Kennedy School.

No wonder. That's where Coggins is library specialist.

But even a casual visitor to school libraries would have to agree that the large, airy library at Kennedy ranks among the most inviting in the school district.

"It's really a wonderful place," Coggins said.

School libraries, in general, aren't what they used to be. More and more, they're serving as extensions of classrooms. Teachers and library specialists often collaborate on how to integrate the resources within libraries into curriculum.

"I really feel like I'm part of the teaching team resources," said Coggins, who's in her 11th year at Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Rd. "Together, we can design something that works best for their kids."

Coggins' involvement with Kennedy students earned her the Lawrence school district's designation as 1996 Lawrence Master Teacher. She now is in the running for up to seven Kansas Master Teacher awards, which will be given later this month.

"I just feel really honored that my peers felt this was something that I deserved," Coggins said.

Coggins, 51, earned her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Michigan. Her master's degree and library certification are from Kansas University. She hasn't always been a school librarian. She taught second- and third-graders for four years, starting in 1968.

"I remember what it's like to be in the classroom," she said. "One thing you do miss is you don't have your own class."

But in some ways, Coggins has the best of both worlds. She reads picture books to younger children. And she helps older students with research papers. Most Kennedy students, she said, visit the library at least once a week.

During the past few years, the role of the librarian has changed significantly. And it's a change that Coggins likes.

"One thing is that we're teaching librarians," she said. "We teach. We're no longer just keepers of books."

And she works hard to attract students to the library.

"That's my goal -- making this a place kids choose to come," she said.

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