The St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) family is growing as we get set to welcome a new member of our faculty in September 2020.
Caroline Freibauer will be joining our community as the Odette Library’s new Head Librarian.
“I am really excited to get to know the staff and students at St. Michael’s College School in September,” says Freibauer.
Freibauer studied journalism at Carleton University. She then spent a year working as the associate director of an Inuit journalism training programme before accepting a position as a reporter for a small newspaper in Brantford.
After more than a decade at the newspaper, Freibauer transitioned to education.
“I started as a high school English teacher at the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board in 2001 and did a short stint as a teacher-coach before becoming teacher-librarian at Assumption College School, where I have worked for the past eight years,” she says.
Freibauer has big shoes to fill, as she takes over for the previous Head Librarian Sandy Gray, who retired in June 2020 after serving for 12 years at SMCS. Gray was also this year’s recipient of The Marky Award, the Association of Independent School Librarians’ most prestigious award.
Freibauer says she hopes that her diverse background as a journalist and teacher as well as her love of libraries will help her fill those shoes.
“In my role as teacher-librarian, I try to be an opportunist – always looking for ways to enhance learning, to help teachers and students, a catalyst – working to make new ideas happen, and an optimist – where I can use failure to learn, grow, and continue to move forward,” she says.
“One of my first goals will be to learn as much as I can about the Odette Library, the many resources offered digitally and physically, and to discover how the library learning commons fits in the school community,” says Freibauer. “I am looking forward to collaborating with the learning commons team of Anita Zawadzki and Margarita Lopez, who will be a wealth of knowledge and invaluable in helping me get up to speed, especially during an extremely challenging time when schedules and protocols are changing to facilitate learning in the midst of a pandemic.”
The Odette Library has been in transition to a learning commons model that is designed to not only provide an area for books and other resources, but also a vibrant teaching and learning space for students and faculty.
“The learning commons is designed to be a space where students can collaborate with other students, teachers can co-teach with the teacher-librarian or other colleagues, and where visitors to the school can see the learning taking place in the school,” says Freibauer. “The learning commons philosophy includes the physical library space but also encompasses digital and virtual spaces so that the collaboration continues into the community.”
In September 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the safe return-to-school directives from the Ministry of Education, SMCS is planning for students to be back at school in a hybrid learning model that prioritizes the safety of everyone while providing rich and engaging learning experiences.
“With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital space will become more important as the learning commons strives to support classroom teachers who will be teaching online and in the classroom at the same time,” she adds. “The Odette Library Learning Commons will be working to find ways to assist both staff and students during this new way of teaching and learning.”
After recently visiting the Odette Library, Freibauer says that among her first impressions were that the distinct physical space allows for many different forms of learning.
“I am amazed by the wealth of electronic resources students can access. From what I can see online, the Odette Library facilitates many activities designed to encourage students to become engaged readers,” she says. “I feel truly blessed to be able to work in this space and with the SMCS community.”