Chancellor Elementary School
Pembina Trails School Division
If Vivianne Fogarty's role as a teacher-librarian had to be described in one word it would be "inclusive." Since completing a Diploma in Teacher-Librarianship at the University of Alberta, she has been a champion of intellectual freedom and social responsibility both within her school and the school division. She has made presentations and compiled a bibliography on LGBTQ books for the entire school division and she has worked with the library consultant in her division to hopefully bring a challenged materials policy to the division. In 2015, Vivianne wrote a chapter in a book for school libraries entitled Perspectives on Libraries as Institutions of Human Rights and Social Justice. This book is dedicated to the ideals, activities, and programs in libraries that protect human rights and promote social justice.
Despite being on deferred salary leave in 2009-2010, Vivianne willingly took on the position of president elect and SAGE Conference chairperson for the Manitoba School Library Association. In these roles, she was instrumental in planning a professional development session for all school library staff in Manitoba entitled, Human Rights and Social Justice Issues in the School Library. From 2010 to 2012, Vivianne served as the president and past president of the MSLA. As past-president, Vivianne planned a L.I.T. forum that demonstrated the concept of a human library to the school library community.
Vivianne’s school library contributions reach far and wide. In 2013, Vivianne brought together various school library stakeholders in Manitoba such as students, parents, teachers, administrators and the public library to gather their input for a national document being written about school library learning commons. Her role as Manitoba co-chairperson in this project was instrumental in the development of the Canadian Library Association’s document, Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada 2014.
As teacher-librarian, Vivianne is a classroom teacher's partner in literacy and learning both in English and French. She has weeded the collection extensively in both schools that she has worked at and has purchased reading materials and online databases at a variety of levels, interests and formats to reflect the needs of both students and staff. Meeting the needs of the ethnically diverse student population, she has added numerous mother tongue and dual language books to the collection. When updating the collection, Vivianne helped spearhead an environmentally sound method of artistically reusing materials known as "Altered Books”. After collaborating with the divisional art consultant about this process, she went on to provide in-servicing for divisional teachers and library staffs.
In 2014-15, Vivianne began the addition of a makerspace area to her library learning commons. She has purchased a collection of materials that range from low tech to high tech to accommodate the creative needs of her students. This year, she has begun working with staff to incorporate the maker philosophy into the regular curriculum and has invited students to use the space in a way that makes sense to them.
Vivianne celebrates reading and writing by promoting various activities such as the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Awards and I Love to Read Month. In February of this year, the Chancellor School Library was featured on CTV Morning Live showcasing their Star Wars theme for I Love to Read Month. She enjoys bringing in guest readers and authors to her library to share their love of reading with the students. Vivianne's promotion of reading and information sources does not end at the school level. By partnering and collaborating with her local public librarians, she organizes hands-on field trips to the libraries and invites public librarians to her schools to promote summer reading programs. Through this partnership, her students have greater access to quality information and literature year round.
Whether it's adding new furniture to create a welcoming atmosphere, adding new signage to help students find what they need, putting up new bulletin boards to display student work, arranging books so they are accessible to all, or designing a website to ensure 24/7 access to the library (http://chancellorlibrary.pbworks.com), Vivianne believes in an inviting, appealing and inclusive school library and collaborative school library program. In her own words, "If students and staff feel comfortable with the staff, resources, equipment and technology, they will see the library as a lifelong learning center both in and out of school."
In addition to human rights, Vivianne is passionate about issues such as the rights of indigenous peoples and the environment. For many years, she has spearheaded the recycling and composting student group in her school. She continues to enhance the education of both staff and students on these issues by purchasing books in her collection on these topics and helping to plan and develop professional development for teachers.
Her voice, described by Jody Godfrey and Samantha Popowich, is “ever present, echoing though out the library space, offering insight into new books, showing students the newest MYRCA or Forest of Reading books, demonstrating how to use a Playaway, making suggestions for “good reads” and gently nudging new readers to expand into new genres. All in all Vivianne is a lifelong learner who brings her true heart to the job.”
A fitting tribute was given by parent Rosemarie Schwartz when she wrote, “As a parent, I feel a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that Vivianne is developing a passion for literature and reading in each of my children. I appreciate her knowledge about learning in the 21st century and how she develops and delivers lessons that have set mine and all the other students at Chancellor on a path of becoming a life-long learner. Vivianne Fogarty truly exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding teacher-librarian.”