From Rutherford County Schools
Michelle McDaniel is the librarian at Blackman Elementary. In this edition of Rutherford Faces, McDaniel explains how she loves building a rapport with students and helping them find the perfect book for their interests.
Q: How long have you been with RCS?
A: This is year 26 with Rutherford County. The first four years I was at Rockvale Elementary teaching kindergarten, then I came here in the fall of 2001 when Blackman opened. I haven’t been in the library the whole time. I taught Kindergarten, first and second grade. I moved to the library in the fall of 2018 — so it was a big transition.
Q: What was it like to change from teaching to librarian?
A: It was a good transition just because reading has always been my big passion. So being able to put books into children’s hands and being able to help them choose a good book. I’ve always loved reading. Just from very early on I had a third-grade teacher that instilled reading into me every day. We would come back from lunch and read a chapter in a book and that was always something to look forward to, you know?
Q: What is unique about working at Blackman?
A: Blackman has always been a family to me. I guess because I’ve been here so long in the building and have been able to see the process where I’ve watched kids come from kindergarten all the way through fifth grade. My two older daughters came here and went from kindergarten through 12th grade, so then even as we were active in the high school marching band, we had kids coming through who had finally gotten to high school and recognized me.
Q: What is your favorite part about working in the library?
A: Being able to meet with kids one-on-one in the classroom and help them find the specific book they are looking for; whether it’s ‘I really want to read about mermaids’ or ‘I want to read about this,’ it’s being able to find that perfect book for them. Also, I guess it’s that trust you build with kids, that you’re here for them and that you’re going to do whatever you can to help them. It’s all about the children. I like to see the smiles on their faces and just being able to let them know we care.
Q: What passions do you have outside of work?
A: My husband and I volunteer with the youth at our church. We play cards, and we like to travel. In the past it has always been volunteering with the high school, doing different things there … but we still love to go to football games. We love watching football, whether it’s high school, college or NFL.