Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina was chosen as the school for the 2017 Steinfirst Artist-in-Residency program. UNC SILS collaborated with alumnus Kathryn Cole, Northside’s librarian.
Northside Elementary opened its doors to students in August 2013. It serves primarily the “northside” of Chapel Hill. For more information about Northside Elementary, visit their website.
The Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill is known for its historically African-American population and a rich cultural history. Recent initiatives have sought to revitalize the community and foster an environment of inclusion and creative leadership. Chapel Hill’s Jackson Center recorded and preserved first-hand historical accounts of inhabitants of Northside neighborhood. The Jackson Center then used these stories to create a “Soundwalk”, for people to listen to the stories of the neighborhood’s inhabitants while walking through the neighborhood itself.
Kathryn Cole leads the Northside Elementary School Media Center. Besides her work with the students of Northside, Kathryn also developed and led summer programs for local students. Kathryn realized that her underserved minority students were not utilizing the public library in summer months. She developed her own summer learning program to “reduce barriers of access” for these students. For this work and her work throughout the school year, Kathryn was recognized with the national 2016 “I Love My Librarian” award. Kathryn was nominated by her school for her work with her marginalized students: “Kathryn helps all students in this diversely populated school build literate lives.” Kole’s nomination and information about her outstanding collaboration with underserved children can be found here.