Librarians take the job of two campuses


Amanda Joa

Newly-hired librarians Alyson Barrett-Ryan (left) Reba Sell are beginning the digitization process of the school archives as part of their library duties.

Lisabelle Panossian, Web & Social Media Editor

A newly-hired librarian duo for both Convent and Stuart Hall high schools are now in charge of the archival content within both schools, some shelved away for over a century.

Lead Librarian Alyson Barrett-Ryan and Associate Librarian Reba Sell started working for both high schools in late November and already established goals for the library’s role in the school community, including digitizing both high schools’ library collections and archives.

“We hope to carry the current archivists’ work forward and take some steps to make it more accessible to the greater community,” Barrett-Ryan said.

The archival digitization process will include moving the archival materials from the attic of the Grant House to the backroom of the Mother Williams Library where they can be accessible to students and faculty.

Both librarians say they hope that the school community will eventually be able to access archival information, such as photographs, newspapers and yearbooks, online.

“We’re looking into different databases,” associate librarian Reba Sell said. “There are some online databases that store archival information for you in such a way that anybody can access it as long as they know the URL.”

Lead librarian for Convent and Stuart Hall high schools Amanda Walker led the search process for the new librarians with input from heads of both high schools and President Ann Marie Krejcarek.

“They’re very excited by the opportunity to teach what’s so exciting about the library and research,” Head of School Rachel Simpson said. “They’re really going to support the thinking, research and articulation of the learning that happens here.”

Barrett-Ryan and Sell will alternate days when working on the Broadway and Pine Street campuses, with Barrett-Ryan working on Broadway on Mondays and Wednesdays, while Sell works on Pine and vice versa on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Both will be working on Broadway on Fridays in order to do archival work.

Sell earned a bachelor’s degree in history education and a master’s degree in library science after she realized her aspiration of merging archival studies with education.

Barrett-Ryan, who holds two master’s degrees in history and library and information science, previously worked in New York. There she maintained the archives of the The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which she says further kindled her interest in archival and librarian work.

“With each new reader, a new meaning is created in some of the greatest texts through each person’s different interpretation,” Barrett-Ryan said. “I want to help students find that experience.”