SHE’S THERE TO HELP: Southwestern Middle and High School Librarian Angy Northern helps freshman Nathan Taylor log onto the school’s network for a class project Monday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
SHE’S THERE TO HELP: Southwestern Middle and High School Librarian Angy Northern helps freshman Nathan Taylor log onto the school’s network for a class project Monday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Angy Northern has been the librarian at Southwestern High School for 13 years. She taught biology for 10 years before she got a master's degree and became a librarian.

"I'm a better librarian than I ever was a teacher," she said.

When it was time for Northern to start thinking about her master's degree, she knew two things - she didn't want her master's in education and she didn't want to stay where she was.

Northern said she "fell into" being a librarian at a high school.

At first she thought she'd run a library at a company like Eli Lilly. Going to school and working at the same time never panned out and she wound up at Southwestern - the school she graduated from in 1982 - as the school librarian.

She hasn't looked back.

"I love it and will stay in it until I retire," she said.

Since coming to the school she's tried to make herself an asset to students and staff members, whether that's by recommending books to students or helping teachers and students find useful resources in some of the school's databases.

"What I tell teachers the first day of school is that my job is to make their job easier," she said. "whatever I can do to help them, whether it's helping the kids on the computer, or printing that paper that they formatted wrong ..."

Northern said that recently she's had to help the school modernize the library.

Last week, 400 books were taken out of the library because the were outdated. Northern said that if the books don't support the curriculum, she gets rid of them.

"I look where curriculum needs to go. If it needs to go digital, I go digital. We're doing that more and more now."

While keeping the library up to date for students and teachers is a large part of her job, her favorite part is keeping the library stocked with books students want to read.

"We have, I think the best in the county, as far as young adult literature is concerned," she said.

How does she keep the library up to date with the most current young adult literature? She reads the books herself.

"I have at least three books going at once. I read middle school books in the morning when I dry my hair. I can get a middle school book, just in that time frame, done in a week and a half. I also listen to books on tape. Any time I'm by myself for a period of time, any time I'm in my car, even the 10-minute drive home, I'm listening to books on tape. Then I read a young adult novel. I'm a multitasked," she said. "I keep track of how many books I read. Two years ago I read 120 books. Last year I read 130 and so far since Christmas break I've read 25."

Northern says that she's not a fast reader, just a prolific one and that reading those books is her job. In keeping with that, Northern is a member of the Indiana Library Federation and the Association of Indiana School Library Educators (AISLE.)

"If kids read they can do so much more with their lives, and so being able to get them reading and to keep them reading that's the part that I love the most."