By Tritia Moneypenny, Former Faculty Member
“If at least one student gets excited about a book, that’s a job worth having!” —Carla
York's librarian, Carla McDowell, is enthusiastic about helping students unlock their passion for reading and learning, and helping them gain access to literary resources to satisfy their curious minds. Carla has spent the last fifteen years building school libraries, developing reading incentive programs, and inspiring young people to find their voices.
Beginning at Toro Park Elementary School in 2001, Carla developed incentive programs for emerging and advanced readers. Due to the high volume of pages read, the school won the Governor’s Reading Award along with a check for $5,000. Carla was recognized with the Lighthouse for Literacy Award by the Monterey County Reading Association in 2002. Between 2006-2011, Chartwell School used her talents to build their entire library collection from scratch. Carla again initiated reading incentive programs using motivating rewards, including dyeing her own hair purple, wearing 50 temporary literary tattoos, becoming a mime for a day (which meant she had to pre-record her class lesson), and hosting a picnic for the entire school. She also organized 100 people to make lasagna, garlic bread, and decorate Christmas cookies which were delivered to Dorothy's Place in Salinas. Palma School was next to benefit from Carla’s expertise. While there, she established a virtual library through Overdrive, developed their book collection, and even taught improvisation. Ultimately, York faculty persuaded Carla to join our ranks, stealing her wisdom for our own library collection!
When students need help selecting a science fair idea, they turn to Carla. When students need primary sources for a history assignment, Carla is at the ready. When listening to required readings is better suited for students’ learning difference, Carla has the details to make it happen. It doesn’t take long to realize that Carla is York’s search-and-rescue librarian extraordinaire! Thank goodness Carla McDowell joined York in the fall of 2015.
Carla was born in El Paso, Texas, and moved often due to her father’s Army career. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Business from Radford University in Virginia. Before embarking on her rewarding career as a librarian, Carla worked in customer service and insurance claims for Geico. Her knack for customer service is apparent with her positive attitude and keen willingness to assist anyone with a question.
While not serving York’s young leaders, Carla enjoys wine tasting, snorkeling in exotic locales, and following her son Colin’s (York '12) Peace Corps adventures.