Introducing Mrs. Kaylor!

Riley Babel, Staff Writer

Amidst all the excitement and chaos constantly going on at Johnston High School, there is one place students can always find refuge and solace: the library. And at the heart of the library is, of course, the librarian. 

After the high school’s beloved librarian, Mrs. Thoreson, who retired last year, students were anxious to see who would come to take her place. On Wednesday, August 24, Stefanie Kaylor made her official debut as the new Johnston High School librarian. 

Mrs. Kaylor, like most at JHS, was born in Des Moines, Iowa and has lived in Iowa her whole life. She graduated from Luther College in 2005 with a teaching degree in English. Before Johnston, Mrs. Kaylor was the librarian for the North Polk school district for a year, but before that she taught English at Valley High School, which was her first teaching position after college. 

There is much more to Mrs. Kaylor than being a librarian, though she loves her job. When asked about her dream job, she admitted, “This is a lot of it, honestly, because I like just being in a library, having my own space.” She went on, adding, “In a perfect world I’d like to be a writer, and, like, write books.” 

As far as she’s come, it’s important to note where she started. She claims her first job was working in her college’s cafeteria, which wasn’t nearly as glamorous as spending all day in a library. She noted, “I didn’t have a job in highschool; I did like a bajillion volunteer things.” She has, of course, loved reading for most of her life. Her favorite book in high school was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. “I still love it,” she says, “I’ve read it as an adult and I still think it’s great.” For all her love of reading, Mrs. Kaylor wants to make one thing known: “I hate Shakespeare. I’ve had to read several Shakespeare plays in college and high school and I just don’t like it.”

Outside of school, Mrs. Kaylor is kept busy by her husband and four-year-old daughter, her dog, Annie, and her cat, Mako. [“Yes, it’s an Avatar reference,” she notes]. However, when she does get some free time she loves to read, which she says “is not a shocker.” She also makes quilts and publishes a ‘Zine’ about “whatever I feel like writing about!” In addition, Mrs. Kaylor has plans to visit Japan someday with her husband, which she looks forward to greatly. 

While Johnston students are adjusting to her, Mrs. Kaylor must also adjust to Johnston. So far, she enjoys her job and students and staff alike are happy to have her. What she likes most about Johnston, she says, is “I feel like I can be myself at Johnston.” Inclusion and equity are core values the Johnston school district strives toward, so it is heartwarming to welcome someone into the school who recognizes that and takes pride in who they are. However, it is not all positive. When asked what she likes least about Johnston, Mrs. Kaylor said, “I don’t have, like, a dedicated time away from students. ‘Cause if I’m not in the library, nobody can be in the library, and I don’t have a specific planning period or, like, me time. It’s a little frustrating and I’m figuring out how to work around that.” said Kaylor. Despite her frustrations, Mrs. Kaylor stays positive through it all and remains dedicated to her job and the students.