Lincoln-Way Central librarian enhances education through various tools
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Librarian Aileen Koesche has worked in District 210 for nearly two decades. Like many librarians, her career has evolved throughout her time with Lincoln-Way, and while Koesche’s education and experiences qualify her for a number of positions within the education field, she seems to have found her calling in the library.

“I do like being in the library because I’m able to reach more students through this position,” she says. Koesche aims to cater to different interests of the Lincoln-Way Central students through offering incentives to encourage involvement, as well as by utilizing social media. “I’m trying to give it more of a café/book store type feeling here, where the kids can comfortably study in groups or work on projects,” she says. She also began the library’s Instagram account in September, where she posts “book crushes,” updates on the book club, and available opportunities in the media center.

Koesche joined Lincoln-Way in the fall of 2000 as a special education English teacher. “I think that because of my teaching experience, I’m able to let teachers know about great resources. Not everyone understands what’s available here, so I’m able to work with different departments to help out in classrooms,” she says.

After teaching and taking on the role of dean at Lincoln-Way Central, Koesche went back to school to receive her Library Information Specialist degree and applied for an opening in the library, securing the job in 2009.

Throughout her career, much of the print world has continued to move to digital, allowing more technology opportunities to become available in the library. However, Koesche doesn’t anticipate removing the library’s printed materials anytime soon. “It’s definitely going to move digital and more technical in terms of research,” she says, “but we’re seeing a lot of kids who still like to read their personal books in printed form—in their hands.”

Koesche started a book club through the library last year, and her attendance has doubled to date. She says, “Last year was strictly a traditional book club where every month we read a different book, but I surveyed the students this year and they decided to change it up a bit. So now we don’t just do book reviews, but also see book trailers and talk about e-books.”

She also encourages students to participate in one of the two state-recognized reading programs: The Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award, which is run by the Illinois School Library Media Association (ILSMA), and the Read for a Lifetime Program. Both programs are designed to encourage high school students to read for pleasure, and each program is noted on participating students’ transcripts. “I really like that students can participate in both of these programs without having to physically meet,” says Koesche. “I like to think about it as if it is a virtual club. It works for those students who can’t make meetings.”

In terms of the future of the library, Koesche sees her day-to-day job becoming more mobile throughout the school. As technology continues to evolve in each department, she envisions librarians “going out into the classrooms” to aid in research and provide tools for students. She would, however, always like to keep the personal connection through reading. “Usually, you can find something everyone likes. It’s more just getting to know the students to be able to recommend something that might interest them.”