Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Case Study No. 1742: Kirby Thomas

Kirby Thomas
Kirby Thomas
Tags: news local news
Added: 7 months ago
From: kjrhtv
Views: 65

[scene opens with a young female librarian (long blonde hair, polka dot dress) speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: Oh my goodness, it was the best book I've read in a long time!
[cut to the librarian moving some books around as children are using her library]
REPORTER: [in voice over] Meet Kirby Thomas for one second, and it's obvious she is passionate about her job.
[cut back to the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: It's the perfect combination, that's the best part! Books and kids!
[cut to more shots of the school library (including some paper letters on the wall spelling out "Everyone has a story to tell!")]
REPORTER: [in voice over] Inside this library at Union's McAuliffe Elementary, a simple statement on the wall says it all ... Everyone has a story to tell, and Kirby's is a best seller!
[cut to footage from the Ellen Show ("February 20, 2014"), where the librarian is shown in the school's auditorium in front of a large number of assembled students]
REPORTER: [in voice over] Chapter one, a surprise phone call from Ellen DeGeneres on February Twentieth ...
[cut to more footage from the Ellen Show, showing a split screen of Ellen DeGeneres ("Burbank") talking to the librarian ("Broken Arrow OK") over the phone]
ELLEN: And they're giving McAuliffe Elementary a check for twenty five thousand dollars to help you out.
[cut to a single shot of the librarian (holding a microphone and a copy of Ellen's biography), as she responds to the news]
KIRBY: Ahhhh! Oh my god!
[she becomes very emotional as someone hands her an oversized novelty check, then cut to a single shot of Ellen (from a different episode)]
ELLEN: I want you to tell me a little bit about your book program during this summer.
[cut to the librarian (wearing a pair of "goofy" glasses) surrounded by students from her school]
KIRBY: We go every week and we visit all of our babies, um, in their neighborhoods ...
[cut to another shot of the librarian, as someone points to a bright-red bookmobile now parked behind her]
ELLEN: [from off camera] We bought you a bookmobile!
[she turns and screams]
KIRBY: Ahhhh!
[cut back to the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: It's still a shock! Like, I watch the video and I'm still just like, "Is that us? Like, is that McAuliffe? Is that me?"
[she smiles]
KIRBY: And it's still hard for me to, like, process that that really happened.
[cut back to the librarian in the library]
REPORTER: [in voice over] It did, and the proof is on the wall.
KIRBY: Yes, this is our happy wall of Ellen fun!
[she laughs, then cut to the novelty check hanging on the wall]
KIRBY: I couldn't bare to throw our check away, or our giant Target gift card!
REPORTER: [in voice over] Now to chapter two, a trip to California to sit in the Ellen audience.
[cut back to footage from the Ellen Show (from a different episode)]
ELLEN: A couple of weeks ago, we met Kirby. She is a librarian from Broken--
[cut to a shot of the librarian (now wearing a red dress) sitting in the audience, covering her mouth to stop from crying]
ELLEN: [from off camera] Come on down, Kirby!
[she gets up and starts walking towards the stage as the audience applauds, then cut back to Kirby speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: I-I just thought she was gonna call us down and kinda get updated on how things had been going and how excited we all were, and what we were kinda planning to do with the money.
REPORTER: [in voice over] But Ellen had another surprise ...
[cut to more footage from the Ellen Show (as the librarian's fiance shows up), then back to Kirby speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: When Mac came out, that was giant surprise number two! Because I had just talked to him, and I swear to you, like I heard him typing on his computer at work! Like, I thought ... I thought he was in Tulsa at work!
[cut to more footage from the Ellen Show, as Mac gets down on one knee]
MAC: Will you marry me?
[she nods, as Ellen smiles while Mac (through tears) puts the ring on her finger]
KIRBY: [in voice over] When Ellen called me on my cell phone, I was like, "The coolest moment of my whole life was when Ellen called me on my cell phone, nothing will ever top that!"
[cut back to the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: And then ... there was the proposal on Ellen! And I was like, "That was it! Babe, we'll never do anything cooler than that! That was the best moment ever!" And then I was like, getting kissed on the face by LL Cool J, and now I'm like, "Okay, that was it! We're finally done!" Like, nothing will ever beat that!
[cut to more footage from the Ellen Show, where the librarian is shaking hands with LL Cool J on the red carpet of the Academy of Country Music Awards]
REPORTER: [in voice over] That brings us to chapter three ... Ellen sent Kirby to work the red carpet at the ACM Awards in Vegas.
[cut to the librarian interviewing members of the band Rascal Flatts]
KIRBY: I'm Kirby! I'm Ellen's, uh, librarian-schoolteacher friend from Oklahoma!
[cut back to the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: It was fun!
REPORTER: [from off camera] Favorite person you met on the Red Carpet?
[cut back to footage of the librarian (wearing her "goofy" glasses again) on the red carpet]
KIRBY: [in voice over] My favorite ... Oh, there were a lot!
[cut back to the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: Keith Urban was so nice to me and so good to me, and he smelled wonderful!
[cut back to the librarian on the red carpet with Keith Urban]
KEITH URBAN: Kirby! I love Red Bull too, baby!
[she turns to the camera and practically starts singing]
KIRBY: He said my name!
[cut to the librarian on the red carpet with Dierks Bentley, as he sings to her]
DIERKS BENTLEY: Kirby's getting married in July ...
[cut to more footage from the Ellen Show, as Kirby and Mac get up from the audience and walk down to the stage]
REPORTER: [in voice over] Chapter four, the wedding ... July Eleventh is the big day. Who knows what other surprises Ellen may have in store?
[cut back to the librarian speaking directly to the camera]
KIRBY: I sent her the "Save the Date," so I'm crossing my fingers that she did in fact save the date!
[she laughs]


From ellentv.com:

Ellen's friends at Entitle Books gave Kirby Thomas and McAuliffe Elementary School $25,000, and her very own Bookmobile. Entitle Books is a website and app where you can download and read any two books for only $9.99 on devices like iPads, androids and Kindle Fires. There are over 125,000 ebooks to choose from, including new releases, bestsellers and everything in between.


From kjrh.com:

Ellen Degeneres surprises McAuliffe Elementary librarian Kirby Thomas with $25,000 check
BY: Beth Pielsticker
POSTED: 12:33 PM, Feb 20, 2014

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - Ellen Degenres surprised McAuliffe Elementary Librarian Kirby Thomas Wednesday at school with a check for $25,000, a van, and Target gift cards for her students.

Kirby works for the Title 1 school as librarian and media specialist and, along with Amanda Griffin and other teachers, has started a summer reading initiative, Mobile Media. The organization provides books throughout the McAuliffe low-income neighborhoods.

Ellen found out that the van Kirby uses for Mobile Media doesn't have the capacity to hold the number of books needed, so she surprised Kirby with a new, personalized van filled with books and iPad mins. The van even has a seating area.

EntitleBooks.com donated $25,000 to purchase more books. Ellen also surprised Kirby with 711 $25 Target gift cards, one for each McAuliffe student, for school supplies.

"We are so excited! We are still living in a dream," Kirby told 2NEWS. "I am very thankful."


From slj.com:

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has recently been highlighting school libraries on her afternoon talk show "Ellen." In a show that aired February 20, Ellen surprised Ashley Kirby Thomas, a media specialist at McAuliffe Elementary School in the Union Public Schools District (in Broken Arrow, OK), with a bookmobile filled with books and iPad minis and a $25,000 check from Entitled Books, an ebook publishing company. In addition, Target donated $75 gift cards for over 700 students at McAuliffe Elementary, a Title 1 school.

Thomas, along with other teachers at McAuliffe, runs a summer reading bookmobile program where she brings books to the low-income neighborhoods in her school's area. The McAuliffe media specialist appeared again on "Ellen" (on a segment that aired March 12) during which she updated the talk show host on what she's been able to do with the money donated. During that episode, Thomas's boyfriend (now fiance) got down on bended knee and proposed.

School Library Journal caught up with 28-year-old Thomas to discuss her school, her program, and her newfound celebrity.

What made you become a school librarian?
I didn't truly fall in love with libraries until the very last year of [study] in elementary education from Oklahoma State. Once I did, I felt like I'd really missed out on some great experiences by not frequenting local and school libraries as an elementary school or high school student. I wanted to get into a school library and make sure I caught others at a young age and helped them to fall in love with the library, so that they could carry that love… for a lifetime. [When I was studying for my Master's degree]… one of the few programs my scholarship supported was Library and Information Science. I knew I had to pursue it.

Tell us about your school and your program.
Our school is an amazing Title I elementary school serving high poverty pre-K through fifth grade students, many of whom are English Language Learners. Our administration and staff are very supportive of our library and their loud librarian. We [at the school] look at [the library] like an emergency room—people should be able to get in and get taken care of at any time of the day. We love to explore, inquire, and learn about resources, but we also have a strong focus on the seemingly simple task of making sure kids are exposed daily to excellent books, and they learn to love to read and experience stories.

You were named "Teacher of the Year" for your school. How does that work?
The staff votes for "Teacher of the Year" from a list of staff members who have worked in the district for a certain number of years. After the initial voting, the top three candidates are announced, and we vote again among those three.

How did you come to be noticed by Ellen DeGeneres?
My dear friend Amanda Griffin (who teaches first grade at McAuliffe) and I [both] decided two years ago that we wanted to try to get ourselves featured on "Ellen." Ellen was doing a promotion at the time called the "Dance Dare" where she encouraged her viewers to dance with people who did not know they were being danced with. We submitted two "Dance Dare" videos—and never made it to the show… Many emails, tweets, pictures, and video submissions later, another wonderful teacher from our school sent an email to Ellen after I was named "Teacher of the Year" in which she explained how much we loved Ellen, her show, and the joy she brings to people. [That teacher also told her] about our summer book van, and how we work to make sure that our students keep reading and have access to wonderful books all summer long. The next thing I knew, Ellen was calling my cell phone.

What are your plans for the money you received from the program?
We want to create an iPad exploration station for inquiry projects and research. We are planning to use some of the money to purchase materials in Spanish so that we can further reach out to our families. We are accepting great ideas from teachers and students for what they would like to see us do with it, and what else we can do to support them.

Your appearance on "Ellen" has put school librarians in a positive light. Any advice for school librarians on how they can be advocates for their programs?
My best advice is to lead by example. If we are excited about our jobs and what we get to do for children, it will trickle down to others. They will be excited about it as well. Libraries and librarians are important, and we should be so present in the school climate that the library isn't even questioned as being crucial.

How has your life changed since being spotlighted?
Primarily, it got me engaged to the love of my life! But, I also have been amazed and deeply encouraged by the outpouring of support from the library community across the country. I think that this has been just one tiny example of the role that libraries play and how close they are to so many of our hearts. It has also been a cold, hard reminder for me about the importance of funding for our schools and libraries. I have seen the transformation of our library and what has happened merely based on funds that we've received. Most of all, I am so grateful that this experience has connected me to so many amazing educators and library professionals.

No comments:

Post a Comment