Tara Thibault-Edmonds

Candidate for NYLA ALA Chapter Councilor (2022-25)

School Library Media Specialist for Rondout Valley High School

Thank you for the opportunity to seek your consideration as the ALA Chapter Councilor representing New York State librarians. Having worked as a school librarian for 17 years, and as a public library teen program director prior to that, I am keenly aware of the work we all do to better our communities day after day. I would say that I am amazed at the resilience of each of you who, through a pandemic and through challenge after challenge, still succeeded in leading, serving, and providing for your patrons these past two years.

But having been in this profession with you for two decades now, I recognize that it is part of who we all are. What else would New York librarians be doing, besides helping people get access to food, services, art, education, public health information, and oh yeah - books - during such difficult times? Academic and school librarians pivoted to remote options for instruction and student support and helped ensure their communities had internet access. Public librarians built book bags and art kits, bought lockers and provided pick-up options for patrons, held virtual classes and storytimes, and left the Wi-Fi “light on”. Library trustees, boards, and friends’ groups kept their communities engaged and diligently worked to ensure people would see the value of these programs and responses.

It was amazing what we were able to accomplish, while it also laid bare the inequities and fissures we face. It is important to bring the concerns of our state’s librarians to the national level, even as New York is a leader in every arena: intellectual freedom, community service, academic excellence, access to information, equity, diversity, and inclusion. I believe that these are the most important issues we must meet in our profession today, and my goal is to be a voice for those initiatives, and for NYLA’s members who construct them piece by piece.

As the mother of five very active and engaged children, I recognize the extreme importance of building a culture of strong, mindful citizens who are connected, involved, and ready to impact the world. The role of librarians in meeting this challenge is inestimable. I ask for your support as I take that vision to ALA as your New York State representative.

Biography

Tara Thibault-Edmonds is an experienced and passionate educator and youth advocate, having worked with education and arts programs since she herself was a youth. Tara holds an Associate’s degree in Communications from SUNY Ulster County Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Arizona State University, and a Master’s in Science in Information Science from SUNY Albany. She is currently a certified school library media specialist for Rondout Valley High School and has worked at all grade levels in her 17-year school career. Prior to that, Tara spent two years as a teen program director at Sarah Hull Hallock Free Library in Milton, NY.

In her love for the profession and for representing her colleagues, Tara continually seeks opportunities to lead and serve. She is a past president of NYLA/Section of School Librarians, a past president of School Library Media Specialists of Southeastern New York (SLMSSENY), current chair of NYLA/SSL’s Knickerbocker Award Committee, and has served on ALA’s membership committee for the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). She has attended ALA’s American Association of School Librarians conferences as a New York State representative, including most recently in October 2021 in Salt Lake City.

Tara also works as a mentor to educators in her district and around the state, has served on New York State Education Department committees, and is a proud union member of New York State United Teachers. She serves her union locally as the elected 3rd Vice President for Membership and as Delegate to the Representative Assembly and is the appointed Formatting Editor for the local union newsletter. In her job as a high school librarian, Tara works with students to build their critical thinking and civic engagement skills and has served as an advisor to multiple clubs, including Student Congress and Synthesis Diversity Club. Her daily work is dedicated to fostering inclusivity, acceptance, and action within the school and the wider community.

 

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