The Optimalist
The Optimalist Podcast
The Transformative Power of School Libraries w/ Steve Tetreault

The Transformative Power of School Libraries w/ Steve Tetreault

In this episode of The Optimalist, Sara sits down with Steve Tetrault, a former teacher turned passionate school librarian. Steve shares his inspiring journey from teaching to pursuing a master's degree, only to discover that his true calling was in the library. He discusses advocating for library services and the pivotal moment he embraced his role as a school librarian.

Throughout the conversation, Steve emphasizes the vital role school libraries play in authentic learning and his belief in librarians as champions of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) in education. He highlights the socialization and community-building aspects of libraries and the importance of information literacy skills development.

Lastly, the episode delves into the power of fiction in fostering empathy and communication, the evolving role of school libraries in the digital age, and the potential of podcasts to create modern reading communities. Steve invites listeners to engage in the conversation and connect with the vibrant world of school library professionals. 

Key reflection: Where have you been and where are you now? How has your journey influenced where you’ve ended up? And how can you pay that forward to students - can you help them look at their own journeys as a step towards where they want to be? 


(0:02:00) A Circuitous Route to Education

(0:03:54) Inspiring a Strong Sense of Community and Family

(0:06:16) Discovering a Love for the Library

(0:08:48) The Importance of School Libraries for Authentic Learning

(0:11:42) School Libraries as a Resource for Everyone

(0:19:30) Libraries as Centers of Everything

(0:22:36) Libraries as Support Services and Socialization Spaces

(0:25:29) Libraries as Makerspaces and Hands-on Learning

(0:32:49) The Library as a Resource Hub for Teachers

(0:35:36) Importance of School Libraries and Encouraging Reading


Links Mentioned:

Steve on Twitter

School Librarian Learning Network

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The Optimalist Podcast is brought to you by Swivl. At Swivl, we understand that the biggest challenge in education is the rate of change. Policy revisions, technological advancements (accelerated by AI), evolving job markets, and ongoing research constantly identifying new best practices are only some of the factors affecting the rate of change in education. To learn how Swivl can help you be more reflective, engaged, and adaptable - including Mirror, our newest tool for complete transformation - visit You can also follow us on Twitter. 

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  • Music: “Goodnight, Shapeshifter” by MusicForNothing, used under Creative Commons BY-ND 3.0.

Audio Editing & Production: Tim Belmont (@tbelmontedu)