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NVHS library a place for school community

The bulletin boards in the Nooksack Valley High School library come colorful and bright. Librarian Sue (Knoth) McQueary moves around making conversation with students. Displayed books fill open spaces on the top of shelves and counters, showing off the newest of reads. But best of all, there is a feeling that the doors to the NVHS library are always open.

“I just want to exude that feeling of you are welcome in here,” McQueary says. “I am glad you are here.”

From students streaming in to find a book for English class, those needing help researching and writing papers or even groups of students that need to find a break from the crowds during lunch, McQueary loves the mix of ways to help. “I feel like I am here to serve,” she says. “My main job is to help others.”

She loves guiding students to the right websites and books during research or even assisting them in writing a research paper. She wants to connect with all the students who enter her library, checking with them on a personal level, not just an academic one. “Any way I can help students, from graphing calculators to getting them involved and being successful, I will get involved,” she says.

McQueary first game to the district in 1994, serving as a para-educator at Everson Elementary. She switched to the high school in fall 2004 and has since seen those elementary students through graduation. “I always wanted to be a teacher,” she says, “I love the students, love the learning, love the books. Every day is different and I learn something new myself. It is a job that will forever keep me learning new things.”

The library has become a home for quite a few needs at the school. Whether classes coming in for research, students needing to work on computers or those who come in during the day to make up assignments or missed tests. She also manages the Chromebook carts for teachers. Along the way McQueary welcomes in groups of students before school and during lunch.

“I try to make the library welcoming, not something very strict,” she says. “It is where kids can come during mornings and lunch and sit and chat. They can visit. I enjoy that, because it is a place for some of them to be away from the crowd. Kids know the expectations and if people are in here working they need to be respectful.”

Each day looks different. The mornings remain busy, as do the lunches. “Just about the time I think I am going to take a couple bites out of my sandwich, I will have people come in,” she says. “Generally, there is always something going on.” A typical day at the library runs at a constant hum of activity, with students —individually and in groups — moving through the space McQueary has built to welcome them and be a comfortable environment. That activity is exactly what she wants. “I would not be happy if it was always super quiet,” she says, “I would be bored.”

There’s nothing boring about McQueary’s Nooksack Valley High School library.