BCPS celebrates National School Library Month

Meet Lashon Moseley, library media specialist, Milbrook Elementary School

04/24/2017

Meet Lashon Moseley, library media specialist, Milbrook Elementary School

A few months ago, Lashon Moseley ran into a former roommate from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and was telling her how much she enjoys her position as the library media specialist at Milbrook Elementary School.

“My former roommate said she was not surprised by my career choice,” Moseley said, “and she reminded me that I had a workstudy assignment in the university library and that I loved it. Working with archived filmstrips and resources there, one of my projects was to view VHS tapes and report on the quality of the tapes.”

That conversation led Moseley to reminisce about her lifelong love of books and libraries. “I love the smell of books and everything else about them,” Moseley said, “As a child of the 70s, I was reared on Dick and Jane books, and Curious George was one of my favorite characters. I have always loved words. In high school, I would hang out in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. And I really enjoyed learning about Shakespeare – the figurative language of his writing, the strength of his monologues. When I listen to music, I am focused on the lyrics before the beat of the music. That is one reason why I am so in love with the Hamilton soundtrack.”

Before she worked in education, Moseley spent two years as a customer service operator at the Book of the Month Club in Harrisburg, Pa. One of her favorite parts of the job was that when people returned books, the staff could buy them for 50 cents each. Moseley remembers: “This was years before my daughter was born, but I bought books for myself and to build my future child’s library.” (Her husband, Andres Moseley, was a great sport and moved all the books from Harrisburg to Maryland, four years prior to their daughter being born. Their daughter, Mariah, is now a Grade 8 student at Pikesville Middle School.)

Starting her career as an educator

A native of Pittsburgh, Moseley earned a master’s degree in teaching at the University of Pittsburgh before moving to Maryland in 1998 and teaching in Charles County for one year. She then accepted a position with Baltimore County Public Schools, teaching Grade 5 at Chadwick Elementary School. After 10 years there, teaching both Grades 2 and 5, she moved into a role as a gifted and talented catalyst, a position in which she primarily worked with teachers, offering professional development and participating in data meetings to identify best practices for meeting the needs of gifted and talented students.   

But she missed working with the students, so she joined a Towson University cohort in instructional technology with a library media focus. The four year program helped to prepare Moseley for her role as a media specialist. 

Moseley is now in her fifth year as library media specialist at Milbrook Elementary, and she loves her school and her role as a media specialist. “I really appreciate,” Moseley said, “how much support I am provided by the Office of Digital Learning and the resource teachers from the library office.”

“Our staff makes us special,” she said of Milbrook Elementary. “They are like my second family. Our school is small, only 430 students, kind of tucked back in a nook of the Milbrook neighborhood. Many teachers have been here for a long time. I have been at Milbrook for eight years myself, in three different teaching positions. I remember when some of our current students were babies. I know all of my students by name, and I know their families.”

More than just books

Lashon Moseley

According to Moseley, what’s most challenging about her work is keeping up with the technology and helping students learn to be responsible with the tools being putting in front of them. “Think about a Grade 1 student with a laptop,” she said. “We are giving that child endless opportunities, but we have to think very carefully how to teach them with that much power. It is challenging and exciting at the same time. It is our job to help students be responsible consumers of all the information they are connected to via technology.”

“People are really coming to understand,” Moseley said, “that library media specialists do more than just ‘push books.’ We are instructional partners with the teachers. We ourselves are teachers. We have an amazing library-based curriculum that connects to every subject and grade level.”

At Milbrook, each class visits the library for 50 minutes once a week. Sometimes the teacher and Moseley have collaborated on a unit; other times Moseley is using the library-based curriculum. The school year begins with a focus on digital citizenship. Right now, Moseley is introducing Grade 2 students to chapter books, preparing them to be lifelong readers. She is working with Grade 5 students to be sure they understand plagiarism and copyrights as they work on their science fair projects.”

In addition to working with classes, Moseley is busy with the management of the library’s resources, ordering her collection, and curating the books. “Each library is different,” she said. “Library media specialists are given the autonomy to know their students, their communities, and their teachers. My collection is unique and developed based on the needs and interests of my students and teachers. A box doesn’t just arrive for me. I select every book and ebook using the BCPS collection development guidelines. Making sure my students have access to quality reading materials is very important to me.”

Creating a hub for the school

Moseley says her goal is to make the library the hub of the school. “One of the things I did initially,” she said, “was invite teachers to eat lunch here. I had two reasons for this. First, I want them to see the library as theirs. I want to tear down the image that a library is just a quiet place to come and get books. My second reason is that having them here and talking to each other also lets me learn more what they are working on. Informal planning just happens naturally. The teachers also look around and notice new books and resources. It is just a great way to build relationships.”

Buliding relationships with students also is essential to Moseley and her work. “I still take time to read aloud to students,” she said. “I find that this helps to get the students interested in different books. I love to help them discover new authors and learn new skills. For example, we did a coding unit, and I could see them struggling at first. It was very challenging initially, but then they got it. And to see that happen, to see them learn something new …that is still the joy in my work.”

(See more photos of Moseley on the BCPS Flickr page.)

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