Literary labour of love

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Sharing a gift and a passion – Mary Ann Baltimore gains the undivided attention of her young pupils during a session at Erskine Elementary school.

BRENDA SCHROEDER/Independent reporter

Before you can ask her any questions about what it is like to be a librarian at Erskine School – Mary Ann Baltimore lets you know: “I have a dream job right now!”

For seven years she has been coming in three days a week, interacting with the students in the school, showing them new books and helping them become excited about reading.

Mary Ann, however, is retiring this year.

It’s time for other pursuits which include taking more time to travel with her husband and focussing on her family, grandchildren and their own parents.

Mary Ann took this job after working for many years at the Stettler Elementary school with the special needs children.

While she enjoyed that job too, putting to use her early childhood diploma and working with children, the job at Erskine was closer to their home at Rochon Sands and also gave her a chance to work with all of the students in the school.

With the internet playing a bigger role, she doesn’t see it as a threat.

“Books are a much different media and there are so many new types of books. There are graphic novels now, like the old comic books, and the students love them.”

A visit to the reading pit in the Erskine School Library finds Mary Ann surrounded with children.

They are engaged in her words, reading along with her and asking questions.

“Stopping while you are reading and asking them questions, getting their interpretation and understanding makes reading a listening exercise. They are listening to what others think as well as to what I am reading.”

 Making reading a book together an open discussion is one of the ways Mary Ann uses to get children interested in reading.

She says she’ll miss learning together with the students about new books: visiting with them and reading together, however it is highly likely that wherever she goes and no matter who she is with – Mary Ann will have a book along to share.

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