Denise Desrosiers: MSLA’s Library Support Staff of the Year 2017

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 7.47.36 PMDenise has been a Library Tech­ni­cian for sev­en­teen years. Dur­ing that time she has worked at a vari­ety of school libraries includ­ing Park Cir­cle School, Radis­son Ele­men­tary School, Joseph Teres Ele­men­tary, Don­wood Ele­men­tary and finally at John W. Gunn Mid­dle School. Through­out her career she has served as Divi­sional Union Trea­surer, Vice Pres­i­dent and Stew­ard. She has served on count­less com­mit­tees such as the Divi­sional Amal­ga­ma­tion Com­mit­tee, Library Tech­ni­cian Pro­fes­sional Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee as well as the Library Guide­lines Committee.

Although all Denise’s nom­i­na­tors praised her work ethic and strong tech­ni­cal back­ground, it is her pas­sion for lit­er­acy, her love for her stu­dents, and her advo­cacy efforts that make her an exem­plary role model. As Denise’s prin­ci­pal, Dean Fin­lay explains, “She is con­stantly pump­ing me for the funds in order to keep our col­lec­tion cur­rent. I know that if Denise makes the trip down to my office from the library, there is a good chance that she is com­ing for more money. That is one of the qual­i­ties that I admire most about Denise. She has always had a clear vision of what she wants in the library and has respect­fully and relent­lessly gone about mak­ing it hap­pen.  Her vision has led to the devel­op­ment of a learn­ing space that kids want to be a part of.  Our library is an invit­ing space that encour­ages stu­dents to invest in their own learn­ing by read­ing. Denise’s role in pro­mot­ing lit­er­acy within the school can­not be over­stated. Denise is a con­stant in the library, some­one that staff and stu­dents have come to count on.”

Denise under­stands the impor­tant role libraries and library staff can have on the lives of stu­dents. Because of her efforts, accord­ing to teacher, Wayne Paton, “The stu­dents and staff at John Gunn want to access the library.  Denise has built strong rela­tion­ships with stu­dents.  Whether it be aca­d­e­m­i­cally inclined stu­dents or stu­dents who present chal­lenges, Denise will find a way to make them want to return.  Denise likes them and she likes her voca­tion, and they get that. The acqui­si­tion of library skills, pro­ce­dures and expec­ta­tions are acquired in a seam­less fashion.”

Margo Gerus, Teacher Librar­ian at John W. Gunn Mid­dle school con­tin­ues, “Every year Denise takes sev­eral stu­dents under her wing in the role of Library Helpers and encour­ages their love of read­ing through con­ver­sa­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion.” Miles Pomaran­ski con­curs. As he explains, “Denise is the mas­ter of the book world as it per­tains to ado­les­cent lit­er­a­ture. Her thirst for knowl­edge goes unques­tioned. But it’s more than just about the books. Thanks to Denise, life in our library has become about cre­at­ing and fos­ter­ing a sup­port­ive, nur­tur­ing envi­ron­ment for all stu­dents who access the space. It’s about mak­ing a con­nec­tion and feel­ing wel­come, whether it be about help­ing solve or resolve the trou­bles of the world or the spine of a dam­aged book. Through­out the day and over the years our library con­tin­ues to remain cur­rent, vibrant and grow­ing thanks to efforts and hard work of Denise.”

Finally, Chelsea Bretecher expresses the impor­tance of the small acts Denise per­forms that make her so spe­cial.  “It is in the sim­ple things like dec­o­rat­ing the library to ensure that it is a peace­ful retreat in a hec­tic build­ing. It is in the com­mu­nity build­ing things like man­ag­ing the book orders each month, run­ning read­ing con­tests and guid­ing the MYRCA Club.  It’s in the bla­tant acts of lit­er­acy love that can only come from some­one whose heart is in the library – print­ing a blank book cover for each per­son in our school to share their favourite book and proudly putting them on dis­play through­out the school; grow­ing a read­ing tree where read­ers are encour­aged to add a leaf reflect­ing their cur­rent favourite book; chal­leng­ing kids to par­tic­i­pate in mak­ing the longest read­ing worm ever by adding discs with book rec­om­men­da­tions when they check in their library books dur­ing circulation.”

Denise epit­o­mizes why the Man­i­toba School Library Asso­ci­a­tion cre­ated this new award in 2017. Denise, as her col­leagues have so elo­quently explained, has a pas­sion for libraries and actively sup­ports her library, Teacher Librar­ian, fac­ulty, and her stu­dents. As Prin­ci­pal, Dean Fin­lay, relates, “Through Denise’s efforts, in con­cert with those of the Teacher Librar­ian, Margo Gerus, the library has evolved into being one of the most pop­u­lar spots in the school.”


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