Carinna Tarvin is the librarian at Stewart Middle School. This year is her first at Stewart and her first as a librarian. She’s a light-hearted and energetic person. She’s accepting and a proud supporter of LGBTQ+ students.
She always shows positivity and lights up a room whenever she’s there. She’s the type of teacher who’d try to be friends with as many students as she can. With her positive attitude and motivation, there’s no doubt she’ll reach her goals at her new job. In this interview, she was delighted to answer questions with feeling and heart.
How would you convince kids to get into reading?
I think it’s a really good way to escape, so like, if you are going through something in your life that’s really hard or you just don’t want to think about it, reading a book is like a good way that nobody’s going to yell at you about, to kind of escape your problems and not think about them. That’s why I got into reading.
How is your first year in Stewart so far?
Oh I love it! This is my dream job. I didn’t even know that I would love being in a middle school so much, but it’s so much fun.
What inspired you to become a librarian?
The librarian at Lincoln High School where I taught is amazing, and her programs and Project Lit and the vibe in the library was just so much fun, like so much more fun than I had seen in other libraries, and I said “I don’t wanna grade papers anymore. I think I’m ready for a change. What would be something I could do that would still let me hang out with kids mostly and would also let me still have my summer vacations but won’t make me grade. Oh! I think that I would really love to work in a library like Miss Sierra at Lincoln, and I could do the same thing like what she’s doing, but like have it be at the middle school, so that everybody knows how libraries are supposed so be when they get to Lincoln.”
Why did you choose Stewart Middle School?
Well, there were three library positions open. I wanted to be in the community where I live, and Stewart is like the closest. I live like a mile from here, and my neighbors come here so like, there are students here who are my neighbors and I go “Hey neighbor!” so I really like that part of it. I also was very intrigued by the new building because I only worked in old buildings that are falling apart. And I also knew Mr. Crider because he was my vice principal at Lincoln. And I just heard really good things about the teachers here.
What did you do before coming to Stewart?
Oh! I was a teacher that taught history at Lincoln for five years and before that I taught at Highline High School in Burien. And I taught AVID and history there for 10 years. And I taught in another school before that, so I was a high school teacher for 16 years before I came here. This is my first year at a middle school.
What is your goal as a librarian?
My goal as a librarian, I have so many goals. But I really want the library to be the hub of the community, not just the Stewart community, but like the bigger Tacoma community. I want to have programs going on here and just like, support all different groups of people, and like start movements and stuff like that, like have it not just be a little library where you go and read but like, have it be a place where everybody can connect and learn whatever they’re interested in and like, have a good time.
How do you plan on achieving that goal?
I’m starting with Project Lit from those. And I think that that’s a good base, like good foundation. And like every month there’s something different going on, so I can start to invite other programs to come and help like next month, like February we’re gonna have right 253 doing printing for us stuff, Black History Month, and I just want to do more of that and then eventually invite parents in and just like, just grow it from there.
How long do you plan on being a librarian at Stewart?
Until the apocalypse, whenever that happens. Is that too edgy?
What are the pros and cons of being a librarian?
The pros are the freedom, like I’m really creative and I can like, come up with whatever I want to do, and I also like to organize things, like it brings me joy to make order out of chaos. And I’m also getting to know all of the kids in this school instead of just my own students, like I don’t know people. I could potentially know like six hundred students, so I’m like the celebrity status, I’m walking around like “heyyy!” Oh that’s fun. And then the cons are um, technology, like trying to deal with laptops, and helping with standardized tests, and also when I have to sub against my will. But I made the best of it.
Is being a librarian fun?
Yes, uh yeah, I’m living the dream.