Liz Gray has attended or worked at eight independent schools in Italy, England, Switzerland and Massachusetts. She is now Library Director at Dana Hall School in Wellesley MA. She has also worked in a large public library, a small academic art library, and a bookstore warehouse. Her professional interests include library space planning, memoir, documentary film, art in libraries, and international education. On the rare occasions when she is not in library land, Liz is compiling a bibliography of women's memoirs, writing her own memoir, knitting, organizing the contents of her home and eating dark chocolate.
Like a good garden, a good library depends on its custodian's familiarity with shape, perspective, discovery of vistas, skillful use of light and shade, and knowledge of plants. In a library, shape means having a clear mission and a program and a facility that supports it. Perspective is the knowledge of where one's library sits relative to standards, best practices, and the school community that it serves. Discovery of vistas entails taking advantage of the unique strengths of one's school, faculty and librarians. Skillful use of light and shade can be equated with establishing the correct balance of instruction and programming, and finding the time to establish a strong infrastructure to support both. And finally, the all-important plants are the resources which are collected over time and which will meet the needs of users. In order to create this vibrant and thriving garden, the gardener librarian must shape, manure, plant, water and prune. Examples taken from the programs of a variety of independent school libraries illustrate the ways in which a successful library garden grows.