Coordinator of School Libraries for the Newton Public Schools
Mary Mills "Chris" Swerling has more than 30 years of experience in the school library field. She is currently the coordinator of school libraries for the Newton Public Schools. In her supervisory role, she has placed an emphasis on providing professional development to foster the school library staff's growth in current school library issues and teaching strategies. Swerling also teaches several grades at the Mason-Rice Elementary School. In this way she is daily reminded of why school libraries are so important and remains connected to the needs of teachers and students.
A 1976 graduate of Simmons SLIS, Swerling began her career in Sao Paolo, Brazil, at a K-12 International School. To this day, she declares it was the best job she ever had — gaining experience working with students of all ages. Upon returing to the United States after a two-year stint abroad, Swerling worked first as a high school librarian for the Archdiocese of Boston and then as an elementary school librarian for the Belmont Public Schools. During a 20-year span, Swerling held a leadership role in the redesign of several school libraries, as well as in developing curriculum with a focus on information literacy.
A National Board Certified Library Media Teacher, Swerling has proudly represented the school library profession in both the library and the education world. When Massachusetts regional libraries opened membership to school libraries, Swerling recognized the tremendous opportunity this represented and contributed to the development of the strategic planning document required for membership. For five years, Swerling served on the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Grant Committee, reviewing LSTA grant applications that funded innovative programs and initiatives to further information literacy, early reading, and special projects involving technology. As an instructor in the library media program at Bridgewater State College, Swerling was, and continues to be, a passionate advocate for collections that are immediately relevant to the classroom.
Currently, Swerling is the chair-elect for the supervisor's division of AASL. She recently presented at the AASL National Conference in Charlotte, NC, and is a member of ALA, AASL, MSLA, and ASCD. She has also taught a graduate course in multicultural children's literature for Wheelock College and reviewed adult books for young adults for School Library Journal. In returning to Simmons to teach LIS 431 - Instructional Strategies for the School Library Teacher, Swerling feels she has come full circle — using what she has learned from her varied experiences in the profession she loves to instruct those new to the evolving and exciting field of school librarianship.