Early on, professor Toni Samek asks her students this question: Is homelessness a library issue?
Students entering the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta, where Samek has taught for 18 years, come from fields as diverse as nursing and law.
They arrive not knowing what to expect.
But after the homelessness question, students forget their stereotypes about meek librarians.
Samek is one of 10 new 3M National Teaching Fellows who have agreed to share their secrets to successful teaching with Maclean’s.
Samek is anything but meek. In fact, she sees herself as an activist in a radical profession.
Engagement is the goal of Samek, the teacher and activist.
“I tell my students that most librarians aren’t going through their days thinking of themselves as activists or that they’re participating in a radical profession—nor do they need to,” says Samek.
“But,” she adds, “there are not a lot of groups in society that do what public librarians do.”
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