Elena Hernandez “Ms. Elena” – Robinson Elementary School
How It Started: When she finished college, she made it a goal to work in a library. She had studied education and planned to teach but fell in love with the idea of sharing the joy of reading with children. She started as a Library Media Specialist with limited hours in Downey, the district she grew up in, but jumped at the chance with MBUSD for more hours and the opportunity to reach more students.
Favorite Part of Being in the Library: Ms. Elena’s most favorite part of her role is getting to hear the interactions of the students during story time, whether it’s to sing along, answer a question, or to chime in with an observational comment. The children help bring the book to life with what they share.
Favorite Book: A favorite book of all time is impossible to narrow down, but she is currently enjoying A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz for the holidays. It highlights how fairy tales have evolved from horror-filled narratives to cliché happy endings and she appreciates the originals with all their gory details!
Website: You Tube Channel
Penny Mason “Miss Mason” – Pennekamp Elementary
How It Started: Miss Mason joined the team after many years in the desert serving as librarian at the Joshua Tree Public Library, a community college and elementary school. She is excited to be near the coast and work at Pennekamp Elementary school this year.
Favorite Part of Being in the Library: Miss Mason loves helping others – students, parents, and the teaching team. Helping students find just the right book to motivate them to READ is the best part of her job and she hopes to encourage all students towards greater literacy through a TRUE LOVE of reading.
Favorite Book: Picking just one favorite book is impossible for Miss Mason. A few favorites are The Most Wonderful Egg in the World by Helme Heine, Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman, The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin, Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery, and the plays of Shakespeare.
Website: The Pennekamp Library
Suzette Molinos “Ms. Molinos” – Pacific Elementary
How It Started: Ms. Molinos worked at several libraries, including the Redondo Beach Public Library before working at Pacific. In fact, she worked with Grand View’s Heidi Snively and Pacific’s former Library Media Specialist, Julie Limbach-Jones. When she learned there was a position at Pacific, she immediately jumped at the chance and applied. Ms. Molinos has been at Pacific since 2017 and has loved every minute of it – all thanks to Mrs. Snively and Mrs. Limbach-Jones!
Favorite Part of Being in the Library: Ms. Molinos loves knowing that she gets to interact with every student in every class on a weekly, or in some cases, daily basis. Her hours are spent cultivating connections with the students, learning their reading levels and interests, and putting the right book in their hands. She prides herself in creating a warm, welcoming, and even, noisy space where they feel safe and know they belong.
Favorite Book: According to Ms. Molinos, there are far too many great books out there to pick just one, but one book that stands out is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiller by E.L. Konigsburg. She read the book in third grade and remembers it vividly, imagining what it would be like to be inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Who wouldn’t want to live at the MET?
Website: The Pacific Library
Cory O’Meara “Ms. O’Meara” – Manhattan Beach Middle School
How It Started: Ms. O’Meara joined the library at MBMS not to long ago but has already had a huge impact. Recently she helped the PTA to re-design and organize the space to be more welcoming. At the middle school level, students can choose to independently visit the library – there are no regular class visits like in elementary. Mrs. O’Meara likes to keep the library an open, welcoming place for students to find interesting books, do homework, study, read, and enjoy an oasis of calm during the busy school day.
Favorite Part of Being in the Library: Ms. O’Meara enjoys helping a student find the right book for their interests – whether it’s for pleasure reading or research for a class. There’s nothing like that excitement when a student finds ‘just the right book’ for his or her needs.
Favorite Book: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Website: The MBMS Library
Chris Primm “Miss Primm” – Meadows Elementary
How It Started: Miss Primm started as a volunteer in the Meadows library when her family first moved to Manhattan Beach. The Library Resource Specialist at the time appreciated her efforts and suggested that they job share – and she jumped at the chance! Within a year, Miss Primm became the primary Library Resource Specialist. With a recently acquired MBA and career in advertising, she did not expect to stay in the position long, but the undeniable joy that the library brought to students did the same for her. Now she has been a favorite member of the Meadows staff for more than 15 years.
Favorite Part of Being in the Library: Making personal connections with children is Miss Primm’s favorite part of the job. This had been challenging with distance learning so students back in school has been incredible. The students feel the relief as well – last week a first-grade student remarked that she loved all the story videos from Miss Primm while she was at home, but she likes coming to see her in person in the library even more. Miss Primm is excited about the opportunities to help children find joy in books and support teachers to enhance the classroom experience for every child.
Favorite Book: Miss Primm has lots of favorite books but Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan is a favorite right now because it is one her daughters now too. She also appreciates Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
Website: The Meadows Library
Heidi Snively “Mrs. Snively” – Grand View Elementary
How It Started: Mrs. Snively started as a Grand View parent volunteer and was hired to take over the role when the former library specialist retired. She learned the responsibilities for an entire year before she was officially hired in November 1999. No wonder she is such an expert!
Favorite Part of Being in the Library: For Mrs. Snively, it’s the same answer children provide when asked about their favorite part of school: recess! The library is open every day for 3rd-5th graders to visit during lunch recess. Mrs. Snively feels it is a privilege to provide a space for children to connect – not every child is a playground child. During lunch recess voracious readers can return their books and pick up more, and not-so-voracious readers can take a little more time to find that book that is just right for them.
Favorite Book: It is impossible for Mrs. Snively to choose, after all, she was named after a girl who loves to read! Here is the list of books she held in her collection of those to read over and over again as a child: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene, and Heidi, of course, by Johanna Spyri. Current favorites are Front Desk by Kelly Yang, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak, and The Boy Who Loved Math: the Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman.
Website: The Grand View Library