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March 12, 2014

"We run the place"

by Abir Muhuri, Online Entertainment Editor
They connect computers, manage students and create web tools for teachers. They order books, introduce reading programs and fix printer problems. They work with you, one on one, to find the perfect research database. When asked what the media center does on a daily basis, Andrea Lamphier, Media Specialist, says, "It's hard, give me a moment." After a few pauses she responds, "We run the place."

What Lamphier says rings true for all the staff who keep the Media Center functioning throughout the day. As a specialized team of Media Center personnel, each staff member recounts their tasks, passions and personal roles in keeping Blair's information hub running like a well-oiled machine.

Andrea Lamphier

Andrea Lamphier's tangled path towards working as a Media Specialist has lent her a variety of skillsets. A Houston native, Lamphier remembers relishing her elementary school library, volunteering there during lunch and recess hours. After studying Political Science and ultimately English Literature at the University of Houston, she proceeded to her Masters' degree in Russian Government and Politics at the London School of Economics. Returning back to the U.S., she worked on Capitol Hill as a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Her first break in professional media was in 1993, when she earned her Master's in Library Sciences from the University of Maryland.
Media Assistant, Ilene Catzva, showcases this year's Black-Eyed Susan Books. Sam Howells
Media Assistant, Ilene Catzva, showcases this year's Black-Eyed Susan Books.


When she joined Blair in 2007, Lamphier knew she was in the right place. "I always knew I wanted to work in education somehow," she reflects. As a Media Specialist today, Lamphier says her roles can be unlimited. "Media specialists have an X number of roles," she says, moving her hands out. Among these roles, Lamphier works with teachers to plan lessons, administers and updates lesson plans, creates teacher workshops and supervises students. Her newest projects more heavily deal with Web 2.0, the interactive components of the online experience including quizzes, forms and submission servers. "Web 2.0 is about constantly keeping updated," she says, clicking through the Media center main page. "I'm the main contact person for Turnitin.com, Noodle tools and Discovery Streaming."

Ilene Catzva

Upon first entering the Media Center, Blazers are sure to see Ilene Catzva, who is in charge of the front desk. In her tenth year at Blair, Catzva checks out books, makes and laminates fine-copies for teacher materials and takes charge of the Media Center's printing technology. But her role with Blazers goes far beyond working the front desk. As head of Media Center student aides, Catzva enjoys working with volunteers. "I am in charge of student aides under my tutelage," she says. This part of her job, Catzva says, is her absolute favorite. "I [love] interacting with students and forming some type of relationship that makes them feel comfortable," she says, checking out books for a front-desk student. With a chuckle, she adds, "No question is too embarrassing to ask." Within her student interactions throughout the day, Catzva tries her best to be a resource for student questions and concerns. However, students can sometimes make the job difficult. "Rude students are the most challenging part of the day. I feel that I go out of my way to be kind and considerate and I expect the same in return," she concludes.
Media Specialist, Andrea Lamphier, assists computer users during lunch. Sam Howells
Media Specialist, Andrea Lamphier, assists computer users during lunch.


Carol Hall

Retired from Charles County Public Schools, Carol Hall works part-time at the Media Center. For four to five hours a day, Hall is in charge of ordering new books for the inventory. This, for Hall, is the best part of being a Media Assistant. With Blair's immense book collection, Hall smiles at adding more to the pile. "I just ordered over 300 new books," she recounts, checking her nearby list. "It's just like getting presents during Christmas," she added smiling. Having joined towards the middle of the 2012-2013 school year, Hall also recognizes the student stress within the Media Center, especially towards exam week. "Before exams, it gets hectic," she says. "People are usually finishing papers." Nonetheless, Hall enjoys working with students and appreciates the communal atmosphere among Blazers in the Media Center. "Students are very helpful," she concludes.

With an average of 700 Blazers coming in through the Media Center each day, the Media Center staff stands strong to fulfill their technology, information, curricular and study needs. Without their skilled expertise and priceless experience, the heart of Blair learning would not be what it is today. These staff members, truly "run the place."



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  • Annoyed Andrew on March 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM
    Maybe the media center assistants should "run the place" with the mentality that their job is to help the students, not strictly following the rules like a bureaucracy (specifically Mrs. Lamphier).
  • h8lamph on March 14, 2014 at 9:11 AM
    I thought that ms. lamphier's first name was lucifer, could you please correct the article, it says that her first name is Andrea
    • Agree on March 17, 2014 at 12:18 AM
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