It all starts with Literacy.

Staff reflections: Barbara Goodman


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In this series, “Staff Reflections,” we introduce the members of the Innovations for Learning team, who will tell us what brought them to our organization and why they’re excited to do this work. 
Today: Barbara GoodmanCo-Editor, Publications.

I’ve long had an interest in children and literacy.

I majored in elementary education as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. My primary interest was looking at alternatives in education – trying to find ways to reach kids of all kinds who weren’t being reached or challenged by standard classroom methods.

By the time I graduated, I knew I didn’t want to be a classroom teacher, but I was keenly interested in reading and in the materials and resources that were out there for young people. I returned to the University of Michigan, this time for graduate studies at the School for Library Science, where I majored in library materials and services for children and young adults.

I worked as a librarian for young people for a couple of years post-graduation, but have been serving adults since then. For the past 22 years, I have worked part-time as an Adult Services Librarian at the Wilmette Public Library in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs.

Nearly four years ago, I joined Innovations for Learning on a part-time basis, working with my  colleague Caryn Weiner as co-directors of Online Tutoring Chicago, coordinating the tutoring efforts in IFL’s home city.  But IFL’s tutoring program — now known as TutorMate — has grown so much that it now requires a full-time staff.  So last summer, Caryn and I moved on to a new shared position: co-editors of publications, and our biggest task now is to create IFL’s first annual report.

While the public library serves a population that’s much different from the people we reach at IFL, my personal goals in both professional arenas are ultimately quite similar – and I believe my working life has now come full circle.

Whether trying to reach well-read adults at the public library or first graders at urban schools, my longtime hope has been to foster literacy among all. And while the contrast between the two groups may be enormous, keeping my hands in both worlds constantly reminds me of the possibilities.

As I see IFL fostering literacy in young students, I can’t help but think that those very children have the potential to become literate, well-read adults in the future, their lives made better because they learned to read during the critical years.

My hope is that the children served by IFL grow up with a love of the written word and a lifelong desire to read for pleasure.

And what a bonus it will be if those same children also became regulars at their own public libraries.

Barbara Goodman

2 Responses to “Staff reflections: Barbara Goodman”

March 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm, Staff reflections: Sybil Anderson | Innovations for Learning said:

[…] Staff reflections: Barbara Goodman ( […]


April 23, 2013 at 8:52 am, Staff reflections: Caryn Weiner | Innovations for Learning said:

[…] have known Seth Weinberger, Barb Goodman and their family for many years and had the pleasure of watching Seth’s wheels turning as he […]


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