Online degree helps Fort Worth librarian help others
Leslie Drake wanted to reach all students – not just the ones in her classroom. Being a full-time teacher, mother and wife, however, didn’t leave time for sitting in a classroom to pursue the graduate degree she knew would help her achieve her goal.
The Fort Worth educator found what she calls “a perfect fit for me and my needs” through the online master of library science program at Texas Woman’s University. On Saturday, Dec. 12, Drake will cross the stage on the Denton campus and receive her degree, a symbol of her commitment to learning — for herself as well as others.
“I love being able to help our entire school grow in their reading skills and have access to books,” said Drake, a librarian at West Handley Elementary School in the Fort Worth Independent School District. “The opportunities and professors at TWU have really helped me to understand the library profession, gain the skills I need to run a successful program and become someone who cares about having engaging library lessons and working to maintain a relevant collection for my school.”
Drake traveled to San Francisco this summer as the university library program’s nominee for the American Library Association’s annual Student to Staff Program. The program provides the opportunity for 40 students to work behind the scenes with association staff at the annual conference and to attend meetings, programs and other conference events in their spare time.
“I was honored to meet and network with so many amazing employees of ALA,” she said. “I helped assist with some receptions the development office put on and worked with the exhibitors to make sure they had everything they needed. The experience was priceless.”
She also gives high marks to her university professors, particularly Jennifer Richey, assistant professor of library science.
“She taught real-world and real-life lessons,” Drake said. “She had us create lessons that we could implement immediately into our library. I have used almost every assignment in my own library lessons.”