“I didn’t like libraries when I was in school. They were quiet places and I’m not a quiet person,” said the woman known for her bubbly personality, comic appearances at the Battle of the Buildings basketball contests and her contagious laugh.
Although she had an early aversion to libraries, Knight always loved to read. “I just always had my own books and didn’t really go to the library much,” she said. “I was the kid who hid under the covers so I could read just a little more every night. I always had a book in my hand.”
She never dreamed she would become a school librarian, but she admits she absolutely loves her job and now can’t imagine doing anything else. “This is the best gig. I see every single kid in this school and I get to help them develop a love for reading.”
Knight earned her bachelor’s degree in K-8 education from Grand Valley in 1979. “That was a time when there just weren’t any teaching jobs,” she said. “So I got on a sub list and subbed here at TK for a while. I started out as a para pro in the middle school and then in the reading support room at the middle school. I also worked in the public library during the summer and then when Page was built, they wanted a librarian and I got the job. Now here I am many years later.”
Knight said she loves helping match kids to just the right books and steering them into different genres to help broaden their reading experiences. Over the years, Knight said it’s been interesting to see which books are popular. “Right now the graphic novels are huge hits,” she said. The Harry Potter novels are also still popular options for those who aren’t intimidated by the book’s thick appearance.
This year has been hard with all the COVID restrictions in place. Students must submit requests for books which she then pulls them for each student. “They don’t get to browse through the books anymore and I think they need to do that. They need to see the books and feel them. They need to flip through the pages. But at least they are here and still getting books.”
When she’s not busy at the library, Knight might be serving her duties as the union President for the Thornapple Kellogg Educational Support Personnel. She said it’s an important role to make sure support staff maintain good contracts and make sure their value in the district is recognized.
At home, she might be found reading a book on her three-season porch, or spending time with family and friends watching flames flickering in a bonfire in her backyard. Spending time with family is truly a blessing. Being a grandma (to 4 grandkids, 3 more pending and one great grandchild) is a role she doesn’t take lightly. Not being able to see them has been really difficult but knows it is just temporary. Until the pandemic hit, she spent recent summers working at a ranch in Colorado. “I would help clean the cabins and prep the food every day. It was amazing. I met some really amazing people working there. I did it for three years until COVID and then couldn’t do it last year.”
Best Thing About Her Career At TK: “Getting to know all the kids. And the people I work with have all been fantastic. There’s always been a very positive attitude present around here.”
Best Thing About TK Schools: We have great community support and I think if we were able to have people in the buildings right now they would be here all the time. Everyone is encouraging and very willing to help. It’s just a very family-oriented place to live – very homey.”
One Superpower Knight would Most Like to Have: “Probably some way to travel fast.”
Favorite Food: “Italian – I love Olive Garden.”
Hobbies: Reading, bowling (she was a bowler for 30 years with a career high game of 279)
Favorite Genre of Book: “Mystery. I’m a big James Patterson fan.”
Favorite Book as a Kid: “Blue Willow” by Doris Gates and “Strawberry Girl” by Lois Lensky
Book she Loves to Read to Page Students: “Snot Stew” by Bill Wallace.