Marci Zane was a graduate of the class of 2003, leaving with Summa Cum Laude honors and B.A. in English and concentration in Secondary Education, and she’s now come back for a second round–but this time, she’s working for students. Beginning her post-TCNJ career as a high school English teacher, Zane is the newest addition to TCNJ’s team of librarian-researchers.
“While teaching, I grew passionate about guiding students through the research process,” Marci explains. She got more involved in her students’ learning when she then switched from East Brunswick to Hunterdon Central Regional High School and became one of the school’s librarians. Marci co-taught with the librarians and decided she would pursue this path as the next step in her educational career.
“As a school librarian, I collaborated with faculty from all content areas to co-teach lessons that incorporated inquiry strategies, information literacy skills, and emerging technologies,” Marci explains regarding her changing role. She adds that with new technologies and teaching methods, she gained a new responsibility as a “teacher of teachers,” as well as of her students.
Dr. David Blake (English), one of Marci’s TCNJ professors, shared his enthusiasm about her welcomed return.
“Marci was one of the hardest working students I’ve taught in over 20 years of college teaching and with all that hard work came real brilliance,” Dr. Blake explained. He adds that he found her career shift from teacher to the librarian sensible.
“The career shift did not surprise me, though, for Marci has always been interested in fundamental questions about how institutions organize knowledge and make it accessible through fields and disciplines,” Dr. Blake said.
Speaking to her grateful greeting as the newest TCNJ librarian, Dr. Emily Meixner (English) also weighed in on the value that Marci will add to educational experiences.
“I’m especially thrilled to know she’s now a resource for all of the teaching majors on campus,” Dr. Meixner says.
Exceeding academic expectations and a commitment to learning were the traits that have set Marci up for her post-TCNJ successes, according to Dr. Blake.
“Marci went way beyond simply trying to understand these theorists,” he says. “She studied their writings with great passion and determination and often came to class ready to take their ideas apart and deeply question them. It was so impressive.”
Continuing this trend, Marci went on to get a MLIS degree from Rutgers University, which set her off to become a multi-purpose teacher-librarian at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, NJ. She then took her classroom experiences, both as a student and as a teacher, to the next level and began conducting research on how to better teach with technology.
“I was interested in how school librarians were implementing technology in the classroom and how they focused on instructional design in projects across the curriculum,” Marci shares. What is more, the district she was teaching in began to include “inquiry-based learning and information literacy,” which has led Marci to her current research efforts since getting to TCNJ.
“My current research explores inquiry-based learning, the adoption of information literacy skills by K-12 students, and the role of librarians in teacher professional development,” Marci explains.
She has even been invited to present her findings with colleagues at national library and education conferences. In addition, Marci has been recognized for her professional accolades by professional organizations such as the N.J. Association of School Librarians, which named her the 2012 Outstanding Library Media Specialist and where serves as a Board of Trustees member.
Beyond these laudes, Marci’s successes appear to have arisen naturally out of her interest in education.
“I am very passionate about how students learn, how they seek and consume information, how they navigate stages of research, and how technology plays a role in their education,” Marci said. “The experiences I have had as a teacher, school librarian, and professional development instructor have prepared me for my new role as Education Librarian at TCNJ, and I am excited to be back at my alma mater to serve the TCNJ community.”
By Jack Meyers