The Importance of a Library

Samantha Hull

Dr. Samantha Hull ’10, Ephrata High School librarian and media coordinator, is a parent of two young children. She’s also the board director for the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association and Hosting Solutions and Library Consulting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from LVC, a master of library science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in instructional design and technology from Old Dominion University. Hull has been a librarian for nine years and previously was an English teacher. In the past year, the increased rate of book challenges, attempted bans, and censorship allowed Hull to step into the role of advocate and activist. She was featured in panels, articles, and a congressional hearing on censorship in public schools, school librarians, and public libraries.

What do you enjoy most about your career and the impact you can make?

At this challenging moment in public education and librarianship, I am consistently rejuvenated by the fact that I can make a daily impact on all students in my building through various interactions. And as a library supervisor and advocate for all library stakeholders—school staff, school administrators, community members, families, and public library staff—it is equally rejuvenating. School libraries provide services and resources that aid students’ educational journeys and, arguably more importantly, their lifelong personal journeys. I often remind students to go to the nearest library if they need help with anything. If a librarian doesn’t have the answer, they’ll find someone who does.

How did LVC prepare you for career and life success?

My LVC experience set me up for personal and professional success in so many ways. However, one way that stands out is the unfettered support for almost any idea I had. I studied abroad in Spain in the spring at a time when it wasn’t offered; LVC helped me take a leave of absence to study abroad with another program on my own. I graduated early with a major and a minor while also being a student-athlete. LVC faculty made sure I met all requirements to achieve that goal. LVC professors helped me figure out that my currency is conversations and resources. I am still a very determined and independent advocate who roots my ‘why’ into resources and conversations. I have found that this type of currency most often translates into opportunity, professionally and personally.

When you first started college, did you imagine that you’d be where you are today?

It’s hard to reflect on what it was like as a first-year college student without the impact of all the opportunities and experiences I have had since. As an 18-year-old English major, it’s hard to imagine that I would eventually be a librarian with a Ph.D., and two children, who married her college sweetheart [Andrew Hull ’11]. I can say for certain that the skills, network connections, and foundations I gained while at LVC have carried me to where I am today.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering majoring in English and trying to decide on a career path in the field?

English is one of the most foundational undergraduate degrees you can major in at college. The beauty of an English degree is that it can be applied to almost any career, graduate degree, or situation because it covers everything from the science of sentences and etymology to the psychology of self and the hero’s journey. The other secret that society doesn’t want to let you in on is that no one really knows what they’re doing or want to do when they grow up. It’s okay, it’s normal, and we’ve all been victims of imposter syndrome. If nothing else, it feels a little better when you have some literature to back that fact up, or you can reflectively write about it.

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