Long-time librarian Heyman recounts journey to SHS

October 12, 2017 — by Ananya Vadlakonda

Sitting at the wooden tables next to the shelves of books in the library, the student stared at the same worn-out book for an hour after school, his fingers pinching the corner of each page, struggling to comprehend the majority of the words before him. Discouraged, he put the book back on the shelf and left.

But the ounce of motivation he still had inside of him led the student back to the library the next day; he picked up another book that he tried to read through before coming to the same result as the previous day: confusion.

After noticing this process continue for several days, librarian Kevin Heyman approached the student and tried to understand his dilemma. Piecing together his broken English, Heyman realized that the student was trying to use books as his tool to learn English.

It was 1998, and following Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty to China, a wave of immigration had swept through the U.S., causing an influx of immigrants at Mt. Pleasant High School, where Heyman worked at the time. A huge portion of the immigrated students had a very limited knowledge of English.

Heyman worked with this student to better his English by starting with finding a book that was at his level. Satisfied, the student returned a week later “with a big smile on his face and proudly told me he had read the entire book,” Heyman said.

He continued working with this student, watching his English steadily improve. By the end of his four years of high school, the student voluntarily read about nine books a year in addition to his heavy school work.

“During those four years, I was able to witness a dramatic increase in his English skills, not only his reading ability, but his ability to speak correctly and to understand complicated ideas that he read about in English,” Heyman said.

 

Before the libraries:

Heyman was initially a history major when he went to Humboldt State University in California, where he  spent countless hours in the library researching for papers and projects.

“I admired the way the the librarians there could always seem to help me find the type of information that I was looking for,” Heyman said. “Sometimes they could even help me find information that was very helpful, that I wasn't looking for.”

This eventually sparked his interest in education and he decided to earn a teaching credential in both Social Science and Special Education.

In 1990, Heyman’s teaching career began. He found himself teaching history and special education at Mt. Pleasant High. In 1994, he was appointed department chair of the Social Studies department and switched to solely teaching history.

After several years, with his abundant experience with both studying and teaching history, Heyman felt it only natural to get a Masters in Library and Information Science and an additional teaching credential in Library Media Services at San Jose State University.

After completing these programs, Heyman became the librarian at Independence High School in 2000.

Heyman enjoyed his job as the librarian on the huge Eastside campus, but at the same time he saw the lack of technology being used. This prompted him to begin advocating for integrating technology in schools. Shortly after, Heyman moved to SHS and started working as the librarian here in 2008.

 

At SHS

After being hired as librarian at SHS, Heyman and former principal Jeff Anderson developed specific goals to enhance the library and increase collaboration with the other teachers.

They worked to increase access to digital information in the form of databases. But with the constant technological advancements, he said the school is still continuing to keep up with the changes in digital information.

Additionally, Heyman has been working toward increasing his own collaboration with teachers when planning and implementing lessons on information literacy. He said this is “one of the best parts of [his] job.”

However, in addition to being the school’s primary information specialist — he develops and provides a collection of resources, namely the database — he maintains his passion for history by heading the annual History Day competition.

Heyman works alongside history teacher Faith Stackhouse Daly to help students through each aspect of the History Day competition, from assisting the students in their research and helping fine tune their projects, to coaching the students on how to interact with the judges.

Alumnus Maximilian Chang, who participated in the History Day Competition, said he enjoyed working with Heyman. Chang was appreciative of Heyman’s attention to detail and his genuine interest to help each student succeed.

“I remember one time I went to his office, and he had spent a considerable amount of time the night before going through every single page in my website, providing line-by-line feedback,” Chang said. “It was incredible advice and I was very grateful to have both his time and insight.”

Having worked at Saratoga High for the past nine years, Heyman’s passion for helping students and teachers alike has remained constant, as has been his enjoyment of being a librarian.

From 1998 when he taught a student English to now, he says his job has remained “pretty much the same” as he continues to help make the library and its information as accessible as possible.

However, the many advancements in digital information have kept Heyman always growing and learning, as he still looks to find better ways to integrate technology in school.

“I discovered that as a school librarian I could be in the vanguard of this great big change in education,” Heyman said. “Keeping up with all the changes in information, technology keeps me inspired to stay in the library, serving students and teachers.”

 

25 views this week

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
Prove that you're human:

Photo of the week

Senior Ryan Kim and junior Reva Vaidya promote Model UN and speech and debate, respectively.

Upcoming Events

December 25: Start of winter break

Poll

What are your thoughts on pumpkin spice?

Navigation

Falcon In Print

Senior takes first at NASA compeitition, Homecoming, New three-day club fair, and the classes varying bank accounts.