Teacher Feature: Ms. Nolan

Marufa Kasham, ‘19

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BHSEC’s Newest Librarian, Ms. Nolan Photo credit: Emma Bally

With Professor Walk’s departure at the end of the first semester, students and teachers were deeply heartbroken but proud as she went to pursue her dream of getting a doctorate. “There’s no one I’d trust more. I think she’ll fit right in,” Professor Walk said as she introduced our new librarian, Clare Nolan.

        Ms. Nolan grew up in New York. Although she did not attend BHSEC, she went to Bard College, majoring in literature. Besides her major, one of her main interests involves comics. She worked and managed a comic book store for ten years and attended Bard College’s Comic Symposium. She was influenced by the comic legend Chris Claremont, the writer of the X-Men comics, who had attended and lectured at Bard, even featuring his alma mater in scenes in his book. Ms. Nolan plans on expanding our own library’s meager comic book collection, which she already started working on while interning at BHSEC last year. Ms. Nolan used to be interested in publishing and remains interested in being a writer. She has even has a couple of short stories published in online journals.  Although she had to put writing aside during graduate school, she plans to pursue it again, now having a stable schedule. Some advice she has for all writers is to “keep going when it seems like it’s terrible because first drafts are always terrible. No one’s ever wrote a good first draft, so even if it’s not perfect right of the bat, you just got to work harder.”

Ms. Nolan, like most, hadn’t thought about being a teacher first. However, she had advisers at Bard and the Pratt Institute that challenged her and convinced her to become an educator. Another big influence was an English teacher she had in her junior year of high school who suggested teaching to her when she came back to visit. At the time, Ms. Nolan didn’t think it was a good idea to become a teacher. Once she had decided to follow to his advice, however, he had unfortunately passed away before she could tell him.

Ms. Nolan decided to be librarian rather than an English teacher because she found librarians were involved in everything, from resource collection to the student body to collaborations in a classroom setting; those aspects seemed more meaningful to her than simply staying in a classroom. At the Teachers College at Columbia, Ms. Nolan found that high schoolers and college students asked similar questions in the library. She found that she had more interesting conversations with high schoolers, so she knew she’d like to work with them, especially so she could teach them library skills at an earlier age rather than college. As part of achieving her teaching certification, she had to go to different schools to observe classes, which is when she found BHSEC. When observing a History of the Americas class in 2014, Ms. Nolan found a sort of familiarity she was accustomed to. Later on, when Professor Walk’s workload was getting a bit overwhelming, she called on Ms. Nolan for help, and the two of them had worked out an internship in the spring semester of 2015. Ms. Nolan had also taught a single-credit Info Literacy class, as well as assisting with an inquiry project, that same semester. She liked the atmosphere of BHSEC, saying, “I like the way that BHSEC students think critically and challenge each other. There is nothing passive about BHSEC education.”

One of the other factors that led to her becoming a librarian was the fact the she loved finding out what people are reading, as well as recommending books. As our new librarian, she wants BHSEC to continue to have access to the great library Professor Walk set up. “I definitely see myself being here for quite some time,” she says. As she continues to maintain and enrich our library, she wants the students to know that they can talk to her about anything, and that she’d like to get to know the student body as well as Professor Walk did.

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