Recently, the Joyner Library made a new addition specifically to benefit the College of Education. Dan Zuberbier was hired as the Education and Instructional Technologies Librarian in the Teaching Resource Center.
Like many academic librarians, Dan Zuberbier didn’t follow a straight path to the profession. While finishing his B.A. in History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he was an assistant baseball coach at Edgewood College, a small private college down the street from the UW. “Baseball had been the center of my life for as long as I could remember,” he said. “Since I wasn’t playing ball any more it made sense to try and break into the coaching ranks.” Unfortunately being an assistant coach at an NCAA Division III school wasn’t enough to pay the bills, and he picked up odd jobs to make ends meet.
Eventually, Dan decided he needed a more stable career path. “Working the equivalent of two full-time jobs to pay the bills took the fun out of coaching baseball,” and reflected on what he wanted to get out of a career. “I needed a career that fulfilled my intellectual curiosities, and, at the same time, provided opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with young adults as I had been able to do with my baseball players. Teaching seemed like a natural fit.”
Setting his sights on becoming a high school history teacher, he enrolled in Pima Community College’s online Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Education Program, moved to Arizona to complete his student teaching, and earned his teaching license. Yet, four years later, his career took another unexpected turn. “I was having a hard time building up my students’ research skills, so I reached out to who I thought was our school librarian,” he said. “She kindly informed me she was the library clerk and had no experience teaching students research skills.”
Saying he was surprised his high school, the largest school in the district, didn’t have a certified library media specialist on staff is putting it mildly. To make matters worse, soon after their initial conversation, the library clerk broke her foot and was out of work for a week. Zuberbier stated, “Because she wasn’t a certified teacher-librarian, the school was under no obligation to hire a substitute to keep the library open in her absence. I was speechless.” After being shut out of their library for an entire week, Zuberbier wondered what else his students were missing out on because the school did not have a certified teacher-librarian.
He dove head-first into researching the role a library media specialist should play on a high school campus and petitioned the school board to fund the position. His request was denied. The Superintendent argued that because the school was only four years old, its collection was ‘still so new’ and students had access to so many online resources the school didn’t need a certified librarian. It took another year for Zuberbier’s efforts to succeed, and, in the meantime, he began earning his Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) through UW-Milwaukee. He was also able to earn his library media specialist endorsement, and became his school’s first certified teacher-librarian.
“Soon after I started my MLIS program, I knew I couldn’t stop being a teacher. But, I also realized I wanted to give myself the opportunity to have an impact on the profession as an advocate for school libraries and through my work as an education librarian,” Zuberbier said. Which is why he considers himself fortunate to be working in East Carolina University’s Teaching Resources Center. “This is my dream job. To not only work with pre-service teachers by teaching them about instructional technologies and what they should expect out of their school library when they enter the workforce, but also serve educators throughout eastern North Carolina is an awesome responsibility.”
Zuberbier is currently working on developing workshops for students and faculty around the basic functions and lesson planning around the use of SMART Boards. He is also looking to collaborate with COE faculty to develop a series of workshops for students that will cover current and emerging K12 instructional technologies that will take place during the Fall semester. He currently resides in the TRC, room 2504, and can be reached through email, email@example.com, or by phone, 328-0406.