A story that stands out

Hebron 9 librarian nominated for LISD Librarian of the Year


Hebron 9 librarian Shannon Whiteley holds up one of the books she nominated for the Texas Library Association’s TAYSHAS reading list in front of her Funko Pop book shelf. “My favorite thing is to read something and then have a kid go, ‘I don’t know what to read’ and be able to put a book in their hands and say, ‘this one’s going to fit you’ and have them trust me.” Whiteley said.

Opening a new box of Funko Pops, Hebron 9 librarian Shannon Whiteley customizes the library in a way that speaks to her — a way that makes the library less of the basic room filled with books and more of a place that represents a variety of different stories, whether they’re on the shelves or walking around the room. 

Whiteley has worked at Hebron 9 since the campus first opened in 2010. She started off as an English I teacher and English department chair, but then transitioned to librarian when the position opened in 2020. This is her third year as librarian and second time being nominated for Librarian of the Year for LISD’s “Employer of the Year” awards.

“I’ve always had this love of literature, reading and stories,” Whiteley said. “I think part of my favorite thing about being an English teacher was telling stories and hearing my kids’ stories, because [I think] we learn by sharing stories.” 

Whiteley said she’s had an unexplainable love for books since she was little. This undefinable love for literature was emphasized by her mom, who was her inspiration to be a librarian. Though Whiteley described teaching as a passion and something she was really good at, being a librarian was a dream come true for her. Her vast knowledge of the books on the shelves is what got her into voting on books for the Texas Library Association’s TAYSHAS reading list. 

“She has such a wealth of knowledge,” English I teacher Alyson Vick said. “She has read so many books, I have a hard time fathoming it. I love getting to take my kids [to the library] because she has this huge wealth of recommendations and can take any one of my kids and point them to something they are going to have some interest in.”

Though Whiteley has an incomparable love for literature and knowledge of it, that isn’t the only thing that shaped her into being the librarian she is. As described by her friend and coworker, English I teacher Cassie Madewell, Whiteley is amazing with people and makes a difference in the lives of various students and staff members.

“She’s always there, and even in the thick of things [she’s] making sure that the people who she loves are cared for and supported,” Madewell said. “She wants to talk to and help people and [will do] anything she can to make sure that people know that she is there and available.” 

According to her coworkers, Whiteley has always tried to help where and when she can. She’s found many different ways to make things easier and better throughout the entirety of the school. 

“She would find a way [for] our facilities here to go [to everyone],” library aide Michelle Griffin said. “That’s not something every librarian would want, [because they’d want to] keep all our stuff to ourselves, but she found a way to take the facilities we rented out to the rest of the school.” 

Per her coworkers, Whiteley is the epitome of a librarian as she has made the library a place students would want to go to rather than somewhere they’re expected to go to for the sake of being in an English class. 

Though Whiteley has a broad knowledge of literature, there was more that fueled her on her quest to become a librarian. For Whiteley, being a librarian is more than just books on shelves. She said it’s getting to know students’ taste in books, adapting different things to help students and fellow teachers and helping the school in any way she can — but most importantly, it’s about her mom. 

“My mom always wanted to be a librarian and so I started reading,” Whiteley said. “I can’t remember a time that I didn’t read because my mom read all the time. I love that I get to live out my mom’s dream that she never got to do and I know that she would be really proud of me.”