Teacher Feature: Ms. Jody Cavaliere

This article will be featuring Ms. Jody Cavaliere. You can find her classroom to be the largest and for good reason. It encompasses the likes of history, science, math, psychology, fantasy, anything you can imagine and beyond. Step into a librarian’s world of books and inexhaustible knowledge.

How long have you been a librarian? Have you always been at Tech?

I’ve been a librarian a total of twenty years! At Staten Island Tech, I’ve been a librarian for six years. Before that I was at Port Richmond for twelve years and two years at Xaverian High School.

How do you help people find what to read?

One of my favorite parts of the job is finding out what people are interested in and connecting them to the right material. If you ask someone if they like reading or not, and they say no, I think it’s just because they haven’t found stuff that interests them yet. If a person isn’t sure what kinds of books they would like to read, I ask other questions, Do you like video games?, Do you like movies?, What’s the last movie you’ve seen? If it’s someone who reads regularly, it’s easier. I can start with “What’s the last book you read?” and go from there.

Ms. Cavaliere assists students with SERP research projects, serves as an advisor of clubs, organizes presentations and programs, and always seems to be busy with something new. There’s a lot more to the profession than simply checking out books.

A librarian’s degree is a MLS, masters of library science with coursework in information science. Yes, often times librarians assume the role of promoting reading materials, but that is just a portion of it. As an information specialist, you get to be a real part of the big research process which includes facilitating access to relevant information and resources. I love exploring science as well. I am currently working on my second masters, in environmental science.

Where did you go to school?

For my undergraduate degree, I went to St. John’s University on Staten Island as an English major with a minor in psychology. But after that, I went for my library science masters at St. John’s on the Queens campus. Then after I started working, I went on for my second masters in environmental science at CSI. I have thirty-seven credits, I just need to write my final dissertation before I get my second masters degree. Library science is really interesting because you don’t have to have to have any one major as an undergrad, you could be a history major or science major and still go into the profession. All of it helps with what you will bring to the library experience because libraries encompass all of that.

How many titles does the Tech library currently house?

Currently we have 12,119 books in addition to other material within the library. This includes audio, DVDs, and other items aside from books.

How do you know which new books to get?

That’s what one of the main jobs of a librarian: collection development. It’s one of the courses we take in school. We take into account the user population: students, parents, faculty. We absolutely also take requests from students. If it’s something appropriate for school we definitely look into buying it. Some of the best stuff in the library has come from the requests of students.
Do you think reading is dying? How often are kids checking out books for leisure?

Reading is alive and well and I think it always will be. Students still love to read. I have these great conversations with kids about the newest fiction or even non-fiction. For instance, Ms. Callan is doing the Salem Witch Trials with her class. A new book just came out called The Witches by Stacy Schiff. The day it came out all copies were checked out immediately. Now Ms. Callan is going to see if she can get the author to speak at Tech by going to one of the author’s events at the Brooklyn Public Library. That’s just one. Everyone wants to read the new Rick Riordan, the new I Am Number Four, and Library of Souls is popular as well. I think there’s always going to be a population that loves to read.

E-book vs real book?

I feel a reader will read on anything. As a reader, I will read on anything. Personally, do I prefer to buy physical books? Yes. it’s easier to share that way. I can give it to my friends, they can give it back, I can give it to another person. I do think the technology with e-books still has a lot to be desired.

Speed Round

How often do you read?

Almost every ten minutes.

How often do you read books?

Everyday. For me, reading is a way of life. It’s not something extra, it’s something I need and want to do.

What are you reading right now?

Right now, for Nook book club I’m reading the Red Queen. With my daughter, Mary Poppins. With my son, the new Rick Riordan.

Next on your list of books to read?

Robert Galbraith- (A.K.A. J.K. Rowling) Career of Evil.

Favorite books?

This question is a nightmare for librarians, there’s just so many. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe changed my world when I was in the fourth grade. I remember being so upset when Aslan had all of his fur shaved. The whole idea of the wardrobe bringing these kids to an unknown, strange land was so exciting.

Did the movie do it justice?

I purposely did not watch the movie. I do not think that anybody could recreate what I recreated in my own mind.

As an adult, as a mother, one of my favorite books is the non-fiction memoir, The Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother.

Favorite authors?

I loved Stephen King as a teenager. My bookshelves are filled with his books. I like his fantasies more than his horror stories. Now, when I see books come out by Robin Cook, he’s a medical mystery writer, I get his books. Also, Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), I’m trying to read all his books I have not read already.

Favorite quotes?  

“If you want your kid to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein

I have been through many terrible things in my life, some of them I have actually experienced.” -Mark Twain

“They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.” – Fortune cookie

(Ms. Cavaliere collects her fortunes!)

Anything else you want to say to Tech students?

Take the time to enjoy your successes. All of you are so amazing and do incredible things but don’t often take time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Take a step back and be proud of all you’ve achieved so far. But remember, there’s always another challenge or opportunity waiting!

By: Shivanie Rambaran


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