Charting a Path to Success

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Wallace High School’s librarian Mrs Claire O’Neill recently gained Chartered Librarian status, making her one of a very elite group of school librarians holding this qualification awarded by CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). A former Rathmore Grammar pupil and a graduate in French of Queen’s University, Claire worked for a time as a French teacher but on returning to employment after a period devoted to family life she changed career direction.

Since her appointment to Wallace in 2003 Claire has shown herself to be a highly dedicated professional genuinely committed to professional development. She was one of the first cohort of graduates from the University of Ulster’s Post-graduate qualification in School Librarianship and she has followed this up by completing her ECDL qualification. Winning membership of CILIP is a challenging goal, requiring a comprehensive professional portfolio which shows awareness of information and library skills in a range of contexts.

Principal Deborah O’Hare said “We are delighted at the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Claire in pursuing professional development always with the goal in mind of improving our school library service and provision. Wallace is an innovative school and Claire has contributed to that spirit of innovation by introducing the Accelerated Reader scheme, an interactive library programme, designed to encourage reading as an enjoyable hobby. Since coming to Wallace she has been tireless in developing her professional expertise and we are very proud of the recognition she has gained.”

Wallace is eager to encourage pupil participation in all aspects of school life and pupils make a valued contribution to running the school library. So effective has this been that the national professional magazine The School Librarian published a substantial article featuring Claire’s training scheme for the pupils. Teacher librarian Heather Gracey noted “Claire has the pupils so well equipped that they can almost run the library without her and many sixth formers have been able to make good use of this experience when writing personal statements for university. She is an invaluable member of staff and nothing is too much trouble for her.”

Professing herself “pleased” with her chartership and “appreciative of the support and encouragement given by colleagues” Claire has her sights set on encouraging reading as a hobby throughout the school community as “unlike many hobbies reading really is a lifelong pleasure. I want Wallace pupils to share in that pleasure.”

Last modified: May 17, 2011