The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

An Interview with Academy Librarian Susan Clark

An+Interview+with+Academy+Librarian+Susan+Clark
Mira Kubo ’24

When students enter the library, they are greeted by our long-time librarian, Susan Clark. Ms. Clark has been at Punahou for 20 years, but her experience as a librarian began many years before her Punahou career. I talked with Ms. Clark to learn about her background, experiences, and views on student life.

After completing her undergraduate studies as a geography major and earning a master’s in library studies, Ms. Clark began her path as a librarian at the University of Denver and later worked in other university libraries in California and Seattle. Punahou School was her first time working in a high school environment.

The most prominent difference she noticed was that high school libraries are a lot smaller and more personal compared to universities. In a high school library, it was common to meet new students. The smaller space enabled her to recognize the same faces in the library every day. Her day-to-day interactions with teachers and students seemed more frequent and engaging at Punahou. Additionally, the students were not all that different: “I really enjoy working in a high school library; high school kids are almost like college kids.” When I asked her whether she would ever return to a university library, she said she enjoys working in a high school environment and would like to stay in Punahou for the remainder of her career.

 

From a young age, Ms. Clark admired librarians, which led her to become a librarian. She values opportunities to learn from other students and has “always been interested in learning.” Her love for books ranges from genres such as science fiction to the classics. Becoming a librarian was a great way to continue her passion for education and literature. 

When I asked her what led her to Punahou, she told me Punahou posted an ad looking for a new librarian before her and her husband moved, and her husband’s new job at a local newspaper was the final impetus for their move to Hawaii. Ms. Clark saw it as the perfect opportunity to explore a different environment while sustaining her love for libraries. Many years later, Ms. Clark still remains our beloved Academy librarian. 

One of her favorite parts of being Punahou’s librarian is teaching classes research strategies and listening to students. During her lessons, “students just dive into the topic,” which leads to fascinating discussions. Mrs. Clark has taught research classes in history, social studies and other subjects at Cooke Library. 

I also asked Ms. Clark how student life has changed in her 20 years of working at Punahou. According to her daily observations, students haven’t changed much; they are still motivated to learn as much as in previous years. Many students still visit the libraries during their morning, lunch, and after-school breaks. Whether it’s to study, find peace, or borrow a book, Ms. Clark views the library as the same safe space for students it has always been.  

Ms. Clark’s aspiration is for students to “still see the library as a source of relevant and trustworthy information.” Moreover, as a librarian, she says she will continue to “make all sorts of books and online sources available” for Punahou students and teachers. Looking into the future years, like many of us, she can’t wait for the new “long overdue” Academy Learning Commons, which she hopes will be ready by 2025. She was excited to show me the collaborative rooms on the plans for the new Academy Learning Commons that would create more space for students to work together inside the library, among many other new amenities. Mrs. Clark also spoke about how when she first got the job, she felt “lucky” to become part of the Punahou library team. Many students can also say that the Punahou community feels lucky to have her as our Academy librarian.

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