Few people, if any, would dispute the theory that “Diane Walsh is one of the most beloved school librarians anywhere.”
“Diane’s energy about reading is contagious,” said Connie Pilkington, who has two children in Grades 1 and 2 at Sarah Dyer Barnes School in Johnston. “My second grader loves to read because of her programs.”
Jennifer Pace, a parent of a third grade student at Winsor Hill Elementary School, added, “Mrs. Walsh always makes sure the kids have the most unique and impressive experiences in her programs.”
For starters, Diane Walsh serves as the librarian at both Sarah Dyer Barnes and Winsor Hill Elementary and has received endless accolades because of her dedication and fact that twice a year she hosts a Book Club Celebration that recently was actually three events wrapped into one night.
“She’s amazing,” said Stacy Landi, a fifth grade teacher at Winsor Hill. “Diane is absolutely awesome.”
That statement surfaced time and again recently when Walsh hosted a closing celebration for her famed Book Club that also included a Lunch Bunch Program.
According to Landi, “Mrs. Walsh is the coordinator of the entire program and has been doing it for numerous years.”
She conducts a Book Club once a week for students in Grades One to Five at both Sara Dyer Barnes and Winsor Hill.
When asked what the Book Club actually does, Landi explained, “Once a week students meet with Mrs. Walsh. They have an agenda/syllabus to follow with reading assignments for the upcoming week. The students come prepared with an entry ticket and what stood out to them about that week’s reading. They also share thoughts.”
The recent Book Club event held at Winsor Hill included students watching and talking with famed children’s author Barbara O’Connor via a closed circuit screen, who has been writing children’s books for 30 years
O’Connor, who wrote the book Wish, answered questions from students about her book as well as an upcoming publication entitled Wonderland.
“The students were also thrilled to be the first children anywhere to see the cover of Wonderland and asked O’Connor such questions as ‘What inspired you to become and author, Does your story change as you write and what is the hard thing about writing?’”
The recent Book Club Celebration also included snacks and beverages donated by parents and Yacht Club Soda as well as a demonstration of sorts by “Paws from the Heart”, an organization that rescues dogs for therapy use and used to assist people with anxiety while also aiding passengers at Green Airport in Warwick.
“The overall celebration was enjoyed by all,” Landi said. “She does above and beyond to make reading a passion. More and more students every year join her programs because they hear about the wonderful books she is read and the great experience to go along with them.”
The Book Club Celebration also featured a collection, which when counted totaled $130 that was used as a donation for “Paws for Hearts” and as Pace while chatting with other parents: “What a fun and informative night; from the real author [O’Connor], themed desserts and creative decorations and even live animals bringing it all together.”