One of the less talked about groups of people who are affected by the social distancing guidelines that we have been subjected to for over a year is the librarians in the Malden Public Schools. 

Students from all grades have not been able to use the libraries that their  school provides for them whether it be a space to work and take tests or to simply check out a good book. This is where Malden’s three librarians step in to combat this.

Mary Liberge, who is the Malden High School librarian, wanted to group up with Stephan Nedell, the librarian for Salemwood and Linden School, along with Maria Touet, who is the librarian for Beebe, Ferryway and Forestdale to create a monthly newsletter as a way to reach the families of Malden to talk about a number of topics including book recommendations, places to visit, apps that teachers can use to get ebooks and many more.

Dating back to last year, Liberge said “[they] have been wanting to do this since last year, and in the past [she has] made copies and printed out stuff,” however she felt as if that method “[was not] reaching people so when this year rolled around [they] discovered this new program the district bought and decided to post it digitally in order to have it reach students, parents, administrators and staff.” Touet added that “Liberge originally came up with the idea and [they] all agreed that it was a good idea.”

Since Malden only has three librarians for the public schools, not a lot of people know about or hear from the librarian who is at their schools so the newsletter is a great way to “get the word out that [they are] here and that [they] have a lot to offer to the community.”

The newsletters are mostly geared towards students and their parents in Malden, “but [they] try to get it out to staff, the administration and all families in Malden because people [do not] really know what [they] do and [they] would like to make that known.”

Screenshot of the April edition of the newsletter from the website.

The newsletter gives a platform for the librarians to speak on and use as a valuable resource for information. Touet said “the newsletter is a very useful resource, especially now during the pandemic because people [are not] able to go get physical books so the information [they] give out ranging from apps or books is really useful.”

Going through the step-by-step process of making a new edition to the newsletter is tricky since “it can take a little bit of time to write an edition since it really relies on how much content [they] feel like should be in the newsletter that month based on different celebrations or holidays and other special events.” 

For the newsletter, “each new edition is based on the previous edition so [they] know what could be added,” and brainstorm new ideas to incorporate. “[The librarians] like to start with a theme for each month.” For example, February was Black History Month, March was Women’s History Month and April is National Poetry Month, “so [they] like to have it centered around a theme for each month.”

The content is also based upon the month, which means “important events and people are also another good thing to base some of the content around like The Boston Marathon, Baseball and Earth Day for [the month of] April.” From that point on each section is written by the librarians and edited by Liberge. Some of the new sections and other parts they have come up with include “having some teachers volunteer to take a picture of themselves with their favorite book or listing places to visit in Malden with this coming month featuring Lynn Woods.”

It can be difficult to come up with new ideas and sections to add to a newsletter when there is already so much content in it, but Nedell mentioned that “[they] could definitely try and push it out to more platforms like the [Malden Public Schools] website or Mayor Christenson’s social media platforms.”

However, what matters most is that the librarians are enjoying what they are doing and Liberge expressed that perfectly explaining that “[they] love to have the opportunity to work together so [they] really enjoy working on this newsletter and being able to be creative.”

If you are interested in reading this month’s edition of the newsletter, click here.

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