Gunn named Rainbow’s staff star
MADISON – Colleagues at Rainbow Elementary School have chosen library aide Gail Gunn as “Staff Member of the Year.”
“In the last six years, we’ve averaged 102,889 books, audio books and other media in a year,” Gunn said. “We’re never ‘done'” with work to check books in/out, locate missing books and teach students to find books.
“We are given small windows in which we can influence others. When a window opens, we have to be ready to pour as much good into that person as possible to allow them to have an internal compass to help them handle life,” Gunn said. “Rainbow elementary has allowed me to do this.”
As an “ear” to students and staff, Gunn identifies an individual student’s needs and also helps with life skills. “Sometimes, it’s as basic as how to get along with other students. Sometimes, I listen to a student or co-worker having a difficult day,” she said.
One favorite task is “‘hooking up’ a student with a really good book. I know I’ve produced a reader. In many cases, one good book gets a child to become a reader,” Gunn said.
Working as library aide allows Gunn to do what she was born to do. “One gift I’ve been given in life is a servant’s heart. I love children and their openness to life,” she said.
Another gift is her “ability to read people … to see when someone is hurting and knowing how to respond to that hurt,” Gunn said. Her major reward is “touching so many individuals daily.”
One challenge is correcting students gently without impacting their opinion of the library. “We represent the library … we’re the heartbeat of the school. Children love to come to the library. We have to keep it that way,” Gunn said.
Even when frustrated, Gunn strives to remain open and helpful. For example, when a student returns a book that has been damaged, she must call the child to determine what happened. “How we handle the situation may make or break a reader,” she said.