is for Zelda Thayer.
Mrs. Thayer was the librarian at Sonoma Valley High School. I was hired to replace her after she retired. I was hired. I did not replace her.
A loving, white-haired, grandmotherly woman, Mrs. Thayer loved kids of all ages. She loved being a school librarian. Her long career in the district began as a kindergarten teacher. At the high school, she enjoyed years of welcoming former kindergarten students as high school students.
Doing everything in her power to provide a smooth transition and to make my high school librarian experience successful, Mrs. Thayer left copious notes on library procedures and teaching advice. The spring semester before I took over in the fall, I volunteered one day a week in the library. Mrs. Thayer was a patient and supportive mentor.
With a newly minted graduate degree in library science, I planned on a career in community college or university libraries. School librarianship was not my interest. Library jobs of any kind were scarce in 1972. Accepting the offer from Sonoma Valley High School put me first in my class with a job following graduation.
The problem of not wanting to be a school librarian was compounded by the lack of education and practical experience required for credentialing. A loophole in the credentialing law provided a way around the credential obstacle.
Hanging on by my fingernails, I was grateful that Mrs. Thayer’s mentoring kept me from appearing altogether clueless.
After she left Sonoma Valley High School, I didn’t see her again. When I think of her and of her kindness to me, I am hopeful she went to her grave without knowing how much I disliked being a school librarian.
After five years, I found a community college library director job. I succeeded a woman whose name was Alpha. A good sign.