Robin Shornstein

Robin Shornstein

Library Consultant

As far back as I can remember, I have loved stories and reading. I vividly recall the very moment that I cracked the reading code! Reading absolutely changed my inner and outer world and the trajectory of my life. As a preteen I worked at my local public library and continued on in my college library. My circuitous path to becoming a school librarian began with an undergraduate degree from SUNY Oneonta in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology, and an elementary teaching certification from SUNY New Paltz. As I explored many career paths I also got married and had two children. When my daughter was starting school, I enrolled her at what was then the Woodstock Children’s Center. When I saw there wasn’t a library I talked my way into a job as the school librarian, and then, it happened. My passion, my path and my vocation came together!

For 25 years I was the school librarian at what became called the Woodstock Day School, along the way getting my Masters in LIbrary Science and School Library certification from SUNY Albany. During my time at the Woodstock Day School I developed a library program and taught weekly scheduled library classes for nursery school through 12th grade, helped start and advise the middle and upper school LGBTQ+ clubs, ran lunchtime book clubs, initiated and co-facilitated Drawdown and other climate change projects, ran a yearly week-long literary extravaganza (a.k.a Book Fair), facilitated the Diversity Task Force, and expanded the library collection from a score of bookshelves to over 18,000 books. I worked on many integrated projects with all ages around themes such as Banned Books, Marginalized Voices, Woodland Fairylands, LGBTQ+ Historical Timeline, Social Justice Guerilla Theater, Pride Parade, Book Trailers and much more.

I have experienced first hand, with all ages, the power that books and stories have to offer comfort, enliven imagination, create a sense of wonder, support emerging identities, encourage empathy, delight in differences, inspire political action, discover inequities, question, and empower. My own consciousness about Social Justice, Political Activism, Marginalized Voices, LGBTQ+, Climate Change and Social Emotional Learning continues to be raised due in large part to constantly reading the courageous and evolved books written by authors of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, as well as through Professional Development. I am deeply committed to connecting children of all ages to books that will resonate with them, and to help build a positive association with books and reading. If you like something, you will do it, and the more our children read the more of a facility with language they will develop. That will help them navigate and evaluate our complex information environment, and awaken and strengthen their inner world.

I am really looking forward to helping to facilitate the creation of a dynamic Middle Way School library that will enrich and support a strong reading culture and the Middle Way School curriculum and dharma themes. Since January I have been providing Professional Development for Middle Way teachers and staff. I am excited to deepen and expand the work with this receptive and engaged group of educators.

The other loves of my life include first and foremost my family (husband Dan and grown children Iyla and Evan). Also, playing music (violin, djembe, and recorders) and gardening and connecting to the natural world.