Though it seems hard to believe, wonderful people don’t always stay in our lives forever. This summer, The Gregory School community must prepare to part ways with arguably the best librarian we’ve ever had on campus: Ms. Laura Calverley.
“I’m moving to Nashville, Tennessee because my husband got a job at Vanderbilt. He’ll be moving his business from the U of A to there, and I’m going with.”
Ms. Calverley has worked at TGS in the library since her appointment in 2011. As a staff member and a person, she has completely transformed the nature of the library and the school.
Many people have a misconception of who Ms. Calverley is. She is more than simply the woman who stands behind the counter and checks out your books.
For many, Ms. C is a kindred spirit. Her immense knowledge of literature, film, yearbook, and everything in between has made her one of the most well-read, well-spoken people on campus.
Personally, I’ve shared experiences with Ms. Calverley both in and outside the library and the school year. From shared responses to books, to working together at the Minds Alive! Summer camp with the film class, to sharing laughs over my sub-par skills when using a copier, I can’t imagine a friendlier and more compassionate woman to spend those moments with.
Ms. Calverley touched many souls on the TGS campus, faculty and students alike.
Dr. Michelle Berry commented that, “Ms. Calverley is one of the most well-rounded and professional librarians I’ve ever worked with.”
It’s true — Ms. Calverley knows her stuff. She is one of the few people on campus who can actually make recommendations across the entire spectrum and throughout the vast collection of texts in the library.
“She is a consummate research librarian,” Berry continued. “I rely on her to give a research presentation every year to my Constitutional Law and Public Policy class, and it helps the students get off on the right foot for the daunting project. They then often consult her after the fact. She can always recommend a great work of fiction — and young adult fiction, too!”
To add to that, Ms. C is a friendly face, and she loves to laugh. (And unlike the stereotypical librarian, she actually isn’t that mean when she’s telling you to be quiet in the library.)
Mrs. Young has worked with Ms. C as a co-advisor as well as a colleague.
She commented, “I’m going to miss Ms. Calverley so much next year. Not only did she order any book that I ever requested, but she also directed me to new releases that I wouldn’t have discovered without her expertise. She is so well-read, a genuine intellectual. I also admire how deeply she cares for the student body, especially her advisees.”
One of my favorite memories with Ms. Calverley is from the time when she had just given birth to her daughter, Audrey. Pictures were taped onto the check-out counter in the library, and almost everyone who walked in had a smile on their face upon seeing such an insanely adorable baby.
It seems like that was just yesterday. Now that Ms. C is pregnant again (this time with a boy), it hit us all that none of the TGS students can walk into the library and see pictures of her son. We won’t know that chapter of her life.
Maybe that’s what saddens me most. More than anything, Ms. Calverley was a genuine and real woman, and she demystified the common assumption that librarians are mean, crotchety, and senile. She couldn’t be less like the stereotype, and we’re all grateful for that.
Ms. Calverley brought down the barrier between student and teacher, and I think that’s what we can all go home at night and remember. Maybe not all of us have checked out books from her, and maybe not all of us have spent as much time with her as we’d have liked to. For some of us, she was a face that we passed mid-sprint trying to grab our last-second print jobs. And it’s too late to go back and fix that.
For those who didn’t take the time to appreciate the hard work, wonderful attitude, and bright spirit of Ms. Calverley, I’ll tell you now that you’ve been taking her for granted. The Gregory School will most definitely not be the same without her.
“I’m going to miss the school and the students,” Calverley said. “The students are certainly the hardest part to leave — and the other teachers. Ms. Bodden and I are buddies, and we hang out a lot. Our kids have grown up together, so I’m sad to leave her. But I’m sure she’ll come and visit me,” she added with a laugh.
“I hope that the library remains being a comfortable and happy space for you guys. I really hope that the work I’ve done to make you guys feel hopefully comfortable in approaching me and asking for help remains.”
Though she’s headed to Nashville (and we’re all jealous that she’ll be able to go to the Taylor Swift museum whenever she wants, of course), in years to come there will be a hole here that I’m not sure anyone else can fill.
Thank you, Ms. Calverley — for being a kind face, a mentor, a friend, a lover of all things literature. We’ll miss you so much.
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