Serving up more than books

School library media specialist Lauren Grey-Hawkins, a graduate of TU’s instructional technology master’s program, connects children with books, information access and technology.

Lauren Grey-Hawkins

When Lauren Grey-Hawkins went behind the scenes, she soon emerged front and center with a new career — media specialist.

Grey-Hawkins was shadowing employees in Anne Arundel County Public Schools to showcase those who work outside of the classroom for a series called Behind the Scenes @ AACPS.

Three days into a story about media specialists, “I was completely hooked,” she says. “In the media center, I saw people who were passionate about books and technology. They had so many opportunities to prepare kids for the 21st century — connecting them with learning, reading and technology.”

Here was a job where “I could be surrounded by books, which I love. I didn’t realize this was available until I stepped into that world,” she explains.

Once she learned that AACPS has a partnership with TU’s College of Education, Grey-Hawkins joined the cohort in fall 2014, pursuing a master’s in instructional technology with a concentration in school library media. The program allowed her to take classes off-campus and online with other AACPS employees and still work full time.

“TU was so flexible,” she adds. “The program has high standards but understands the demands of students with a full-time job. It’s a great way to earn a degree.”

Grey-Hawkins started her position as a media specialist with AACPS in fall 2020 and regularly promotes how TU’s program forges connections with fellow county colleagues. “I’m walking into a job with a support system already in place,” she explains. “That is so powerful.”

“ The program has high standards but understands the demands of students with a full-time job. ”

Lauren Grey-Hawkins

She also comes with the goal of erasing the image of a librarian sitting behind a desk simply checking out books. The position has evolved from not just finding accurate information but also showing students how to present the information creatively, whether it’s using video or design tools.

“I love telling people that there are dozens of databases available in our county that cover every topic imaginable,” she says. “There are even coding lessons for children as young as kindergarten.”

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