Deborah Baldwin is the Lower School’s librarian. Her role is to find creative ways to connect students with authors and illustrators and to build lifelong readers. She works closely with classroom teachers and other specialists to develop the school’s curriculum so that literacy, foreign languages, art and science are not taught in isolation.
“I love helping kids learn to love stories so they will learn to love reading,” she says. “I want them to connect with characters through what they are reading or what I’m reading out loud to them. One of my favorite projects is reading three stories about the Lewis and Clark exploration. Together we compare and contrast the journey through the eyes of York, Sacajawea and the dog Seaman. It really helps the students to begin developing their understanding of context and point of view.”
Baldwin is also responsible for constructing the Lower School’s library collection. She likes to involve students in the process by getting their feedback on books she borrowed from the public library as she considers adding them to the school’s collection. “There are times when I am building the collection with really specific kids in mind,” she says. “I’m always looking for books that will encourage their creativity, draw them into reading for pleasure, and help them become better researchers.”
“I love that Charles Wright has a culture where reading is cool and it’s ok to be smart. Kids come into the library at recess and snack time not to hide from the peers on the playground but to gather with students from other grades and explore shared interests. The best compliment I ever received was when one of my students told his mom that if he could be principal for a day he’d give everyone more library time.”
During her tenure she has also taught first and second grade classes. Outside of school, she spends most of her time just trying to keep up with being a mom. She does a number of music and theater activities with her children. She also enjoys creating stained glass, quilting and reading mysteries, fantasy stories and historical fiction. Baldwin has also helped the Tacoma Children’s Museum develop new exhibits.