By February 13, 2019 1 Comments Read More →

Be My (Library) Galentine!

What's Galentine's Day? Oh, it's only the best day of the yearAn unexpected perk of being a school librarian has been the opportunity to work with amazing women in the library throughout my career. Since today is Galentine’s Day, the holiday made up by Parks and Recreations’ Leslie Knope to celebrate the amazing women in her life, I thought I’d celebrate a few in mine.

Nancy Lawson & Gundry Rowe

Nancy Lawson & Gundry Rowe

When I was fresh out of library school and starting my new job at Gaithersburg Elementary in Maryland, I found myself working with two amazing library women: Nancy Lawson and Pat Adam. When people say the library should be the heart of the school, surely they had media assistants such as Nancy in mind. And the indomitable Ms. Pat lived next door to the school and had been volunteering at the school for years. Tireless and enthusiastic tech teacher Angie Wagner may not have been actually located in the library, but she was still a part of our library team. We burned up a lot of tile between the lab and the library as we went back and forth to share ideas and resources.

With Angie Wagner

With Angie Wagner

When I moved halfway across the country to Chicago, the hardest part was leaving the people. But I found myself working with another amazing woman, Katie Fitzpatrick Burrell. Calm and patient, Katie made the transition and day-to-day routine so much more enjoyable. We are fortunate to have many parent and grandparent volunteers, but there’s one that is mistaken for a staff member by many of our young students: Ms. B, aka Rosalie Bertocchi. Warm and knowledgeable, she began volunteering when her now college-age grandsons were students here and stayed on after they left.

With Melissa Albarran

With Melissa Albarran

I wish for everyone a working relationship that is as much fun as working with my current partner in crime Melissa Albarran. Teaching always seems like improv, where you know the theme and main ideas but have no idea what anyone is going to actually say or which direction the conversation will go. Working with Melissa is like improv in another way, too, because every idea leads to the “yes, and . . .” (Although usually it sounds more like “Yes!! Oooh! And what about . . . ?!?!”)

This year, Melissa and I are having our after-school library advisory club create a Galentine’s Day display with books that show strong, supportive female friendships. It was harder than we expected to pull together a list but we had some great helpers. Fifth-grade boys and girls helped us come up with ideas. (Their contributions have asterisks beside them, while the  denotes a Booklist starred review.)


Middle-Grade Books That Show Strong, Supportive Female Friendships

Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery

Babysitters Club, by Ann M. Martin *

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

 Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein

Dara Palmer’s Major Drama, by Emma Shevah *

Dork Diaries series (sample title: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star), by Rachel Renée Russell *

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (sample title: Talking to Dragons), by Patricia Wrede

 Ivy and Bean, by Annie Barrows

 Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith

Kylie Jean, by Marci Peschke *

 Listen, Slowly, by Thanhha Lai *

Lotus Lane, by Kyla May *

 Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson

One Half from the East, by Nadia Hashimi *

Prairie Fire and  The Story of Owen, by E. K. Johnston

Sammy Keyes series (sample title: Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man), by Wendelin Van Draanen

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares

Wells and Wong series (sample title: Murder Is Bad Manners), by Robin Stevens


Being a librarian is the best job I could have, but it is definitely even better since I have gotten to share it with people I adore. Happy Galentine’s day to all of them and to all of you!


About the Author:

Gundry Rowe is a K-8 librarian at Walt Disney Magnet School in Chicago, IL. She is National Board Certified in Library Media and has been working in children’s bookstores and libraries since she was 16. Although she prefers to balance reading kids' chapter books with books for adults, instead she finds herself reading Little Blue Truck for the 57,000th time to her three little boys.

1 Comment on "Be My (Library) Galentine!"

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  1.' Long-time Ms. Rowe Fan says:

    We should all take a page from your book and honor those who have influenced us, especially the amazing women who undoubtedly don’t get the credit they deserve. I know your students are lucky to have you and it warms my heart to know you will have a lasting impression on their lives as well. You rock! 🙂

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