Fighting the Good Fight—for Your Library, for Your Students

3 min read

| By Heather Hayes |

What are your nonnegotiables? Heather Hayes, a senior education consultant for Gale, a Cengage company, reflects on the School Library Journal (SLJ) summit and leadership panel, where esteemed participants articulated that supporting mental health and wellness is nonnegotiable—reaffirming shared passions and pursuits while fueling the drive to continue to fight the good fight for, and with, our students. Supporting our students’ mental health and wellness goes hand in hand with supporting the whole child. Their academic, career, and life endeavors don’t live separately from their emotional makeup. Mental wellness should be a focus every day and not be separated from instruction. Hear Grace Gallagher, executive director of the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, share one SEL activity educators can implement into their routine and more.

As an educator, mentor, coach, and education consultant, Hayes shares that “I have always gravitated towards the library; for the library, as eloquently shared by the panel, is ‘the heart and hub of the school.’ The library is a place of solace; it is a place of possibility; it is a place hope; it is a friend; and it is a treasure trove of support resources that live beyond the walls of its structure, affording far-reaching effects across the curriculum spectrum.”

Gale is here to support librarians as they weave the fabric of the library into every aspect of the school and beyond. And we’re also here to help librarians tell their compelling success stories. Gale echoes Jenn Roush, assistant director of curriculum and instruction in California’s Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and her encouraging directive to librarians that in order to advocate for your library and for libraries to continue to thrive, success stories need to be told and celebrated.

In our long history, Gale has always been a champion for school libraries. We share and advocate for the librarians’ passion to lead through the library. Gale knows that regardless of the learning environment, librarians are content experts, thought leaders, and educators. We enthusiastically agree with SLJ panelist Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton of Mt. Vernon City School District that their presence in the students’ educational experience is nonnegotiable.

Over the past seven months, Gale Midwest District Manager Andrea Eshelman has talked with educators across the country who understand the critical digital tools needed in on-site, hybrid, or distance learning. Excellent digital resources—designed for every learner—in the hands of a great school librarian allows for equity of access for all learners; has a powerful impact on successful student outcomes; and creates a personalized, engaging, and flexible digital learning experience.

Content mastery cannot be achieved without support. Students’ mental health and social and emotional learning (SEL) can’t happen without caring educators and excellent content. And teachers cannot be their best without taking care of themselves. All of these essentials are nonnegotiable and need to be available anytime, anywhere, and for everyone.

Gale is driven to support student learning and proud to provide these essential resources. We’re committed to helping librarians be the bridge between the library and the classroom—and the conduit to great teaching, learning, achievement, and wellness.

Learn more about how to advocate for your library and students.


Heather Hayes


Meet the Author


Heather Hayes is a senior education consultant with Gale, a Cengage Company. Heather earned her BA in English from James Madison University and a master of teaching with a concentration in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. As a former English literature teacher and in her role as an education consultant, Heather has a passion for ensuring that we teach the whole child, and that both the mental health and wellness and the academics of every child is fostered, nurtured, and protected—paving the way to each child’s unique path to success!

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