Diane Keating has been a library assistant for 24 years at R. K. Finn Ryan Road School in the Northampton School system. She has kept the library functioning since the elimination of the librarian. She continues to maintain and order books for the largest elementary school library in the city, with over 17,000 volumes, not counting the paperback picture books or the paperback novels. She sees and reads stories to each classroom on a weekly schedule. She is more than a library assistant; she is our librarian.
Besides doing her ESP job and the job of the librarian, Diane also works in the lunchroom selling tickets and supervising breakfast and lunch.
At the end of the day she also assists a child with transitions.
When the school system cut librarians, she continued maintaining the library by making it a warm and welcoming place to come. Her knowledge of daily tasks helps her to keep the library open during the day and available to all students and staff.
She welcomes storytellers and cultural art events to use the library and makes up the classes she was unable to see. The children see that visiting the library is very important.
Diane is inclusive, making a special point to schedule the Hampshire Education Collaborative students when they started renting a room in our building. She feels it is important that the library is available to everyone.
She has also taken it upon herself to provide a time where staff can order lunch out a couple days a week. This builds community by giving us a change in our daily schedules and something to look forward to.
Diane has been an active member of the MTA and is familiar with the ESP contract. Members go to her for clarification on different issues.
She is on the Bargaining Committee for Contract Negotiations. She is also the NTA delegate for the ESPs at her school.
The MTA has provided her with job security. Diane believes in what the MTA offers to union members and has helped to persuade the Instructional Assistants and Individual Pupil Aides to join the union by informing them of the many benefits that are available through the union.
Diane maintains a weekly schedule where each class comes for a story and takes out books. Diane is a wonderful storyteller.
She is involved in the Mitten Project. Yearly she puts up a tree to collect mittens for our school for children who need mittens or to donate to the Survival Center in Northampton.
She helped the children become aware of recycling by promoting an Igloo Building Project. The children brought in empty milk and water plastic containers. They put together the jugs to create a giant igloo where they could come, sit, and read in it.
Diane posts newspaper clippings in the library of all the children who appear in newspapers. By doing this, she enables all children to see and enjoy the articles. Many families do not subscribe to the newspaper and otherwise would miss out on this information.
In the summer of 2005, Diane's school was to have the library painted and re-carpeted. She worked overtime in the summer to empty and re-shelf the many library books. This was not an easy undertaking in the heat of the summer months. By doing this, the school was able to begin with a working library.
Diane is very energetic and keeps involved in her community. She has collected for the American Cancer Society and The American Heart Fund. She teaches sewing at Stitches Unlimited.
Diane oversees The Bob Finn Memorial Library Fund. She is on the Science Committee for the PTO. She also selects books for the library which are donated from the PTO book fair. She is the Science-to-Go Coordinator at R.K. Finn School.
Diane is a dedicated mother to three outstanding children. She has been married for 40 years. She is also a proud grandmother. Her dedication to her family, job and community enriches the lives of many and for that we are grateful.