OLSH Librarian Bethany Cvitkovic graduated from college with a degree in history and an interest in working for a school, but it was not until she found herself teaching in a unique situation that she found her true passion.
Shortly after graduating from Edinboro University in 2007, Bethany had the opportunity to teach on a Navajo reservation in Northeast Arizona. Even though her bachelor’s degree is in history, Bethany taught 9th grade algebra.
“Teaching on the reservation was such an amazing experience. It was like living in a whole different world of culture,” Bethany said. “After studying history in college, I always wanted to move to the West to see that part of the country first-hand. Getting to do that while teaching was such a bucket list item.”
While there, Bethany visited many notable places in the West including the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Red Rock, Colorado.
Bethany hoped to take over for the librarian position on the reservation the following year, but unfortunately the opportunity did not arise. She returned home to Pennsylvania to attend Clarion University to pursue her Post Baccalaureate Bachelors of Science in Library Science K-12.
“My first experience working in a library was at Edinboro University. I really enjoyed getting to be a part of all the different parts of it from the multimedia center to the archives. I just knew that I wanted to be a librarian,” Bethany said.
Bethany completed her degree in 2011 and began working at Carlow University where she took classes for a Masters in early childhood education. In 2015 she was contacted by OLSH Principal Tim Plocinik for a school librarian position and she joined the OLSH community that same fall.
Bethany began by making monthly book displays based on current events and different fun topics during her first year at OLSH. Some of her favorite displays are the U.S. Presidents, Women’s History Month, and an Advent Calendar Book Display made out of Styrofoam boxes!
She also continued the work of OLSH’s previous librarian in revamping the fiction and non-fiction book sections. By creating a “smaller but mightier” book selection for students, Bethany hopes to make the library more accessible for students to check out current and interesting books.
“I have been trying to make the library a more collaborative and inviting space,” Bethany said. “The library should be a place where students can interact with each other and get a break as much as they can.”
Bethany has been an active member of the OLSH faculty since 2015. She is currently helping Nick Hollobaugh and Patricia Kreuger with the STEM Club and Girls Who Code activities, as well as bringing in more technology such as virtual reality and iPod Touch devices. Bethany is also the Middle States Student Life Committee Co-Chair with Jessica Sellman and will be starting a book club this spring.
For the past 7 years, Bethany has been a part of the OLSH Bowling Team as assistant coach for her first 3 years and now head coach for the past 4 years. As a bowler in high school at West Allegheny, Bethany went to the PA State Championships both as a part of her team and as an individual.
“I really enjoy coaching the team and especially making the senior gifts of personalized bowling pins and ‘college survival kits’ at the end of the year,” Bethany said. “The students seem to just have a lot of fun and they are so easy to work with.”
Bethany and her husband Matthew began dating in their senior year of college at Edinboro and were married in 2015. Bethany, Matthew, and their 4-year-old daughter, Millie, love to spend time outdoors and at the zoo. They camp every weekend and have 2 family cabins in Altoona and Clarion, PA.
In her free time, Bethany enjoys listening to audiobooks and reading about diversity and social justice for her own professional development.
“I enjoy learning more about different cultures. Living on the reservation really changed my life in that way,” Bethany said. “I hope that as a librarian, I can help get students exposed to more diversity through literature.”
Bethany has loved being a part of the OLSH community of students and faculty and is thankful for their constant support of her and the library.
“I love making those small connections with the students and seeing them becoming more comfortable in the library,” Bethany said. “It is also so nice to be friendly with everyone here and know that they are supportive of you. Having the support of the faculty, the maintenance staff, and secretaries is so important to me and I am very appreciative.”