JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – As we kick off our Cool School, Cool Educators initiative, we are putting the spotlight on a teacher-librarian, who makes a trip to the library interactive and fun for all.

Murray LaSaine Montessori’s Elizabeth Ryan is our first Cool School Librarian of the week.

Mrs. Ryan is in her fourth year at Murray LaSaine Montessori on James Island as a teacher-librarian. Originally, she thought she would have a career in law, but her love for teaching and desire to bring the joy of learning to children sent her to the classroom as a second-grade teacher. 

Her love of books led her to pursue a library degree. Now, Ryan said she can share her love of reading with students and use creativity to bring hands-on projects and experiences to the literary world.  

“I feel like if I’m having fun, hopefully, they’re having fun,” she said. “I like to incorporate hands-on experience with the books, so they can see that connection. I love to do big projects, so the Lego globe was part of a big Lego world project we worked on last year, and I always try to do something new. I never do the same thing twice because it makes it more fun for me to plan and they get excited to see something new.”

Ryan developed a ‘Maker Space’ at the school through grants and some district funding to include typewriters, robots, bracelet making, and a wide variety of building kits. 

“The Lego world was my Bosch grant I got last year. They each picked a landmark, they studied it, and we would do the research and they would work in building it,” she explained.

“It takes all of us to make the magic happen inside of our building. Mrs. Ryan is an incredible school librarian. She’s been with us for a while, and really promotes reading and a love of words. Our library is an incredible collection cultivated by her. She does a great job,” said Principal Meredith Wallace.

Classes come to her once a week.

“I think she’s a really great librarian because she doesn’t just make us read.  She also lets us do fun stuff like the typewriter, Rubik’s cube, and Legos.  She’s really good at her job, fifth-grade student Josie Brown said.

“This award means a lot, it means that I’m doing a good job in the library, and it means librarians will be more recognized for what they do and that my students appreciate what I do for them, and they love coming in here because I know they do because they’re great,” said Ryan. “I couldn’t do it without the students we have. They’re amazing.”

Ryan also serves as advocacy chair for Charleston County School District’s library board.  She is currently in her second year of a doctoral program in educational leadership through Gardner-Webb University.

If you would like to nominate a Cool School or Educator, send an email to Octavia Mitchell at omitchell@wcbd.com.