Meet Glenbard West’s New Librarian


Ms. Alicia Hollander is the Elliott Library’s newest Head Librarian. Previously an English teacher at Glenbard North, Ms. Hollander joined the West staff this year and brings her experience and passion to make the library a more welcoming and accessible place for students and staff. 

Ms. Hollander grew up in Venezuela where she developed an early interest and love for books. A specific example she remembers is how her father made it a habit to read stories to her every night. She recalled “when I was little my dad used to read us bedtime stories” which was a habit she said continued even as she got older and got to pick books to read with her entire family. This habit, she said, “sparked a love for books from early on.”

After completing college, Ms. Hollander started teaching English which was something she was incredibly passionate about and still loves. However when the opportunity to work in the library arose, Ms. Hollander said she realized that it was a way for her to have contact with her class while also having “a larger impact on the entire school”. Additionally, out of all the things she did as an English teacher, Ms. Hollander was most passionate about books and talking about books. Starting work at the library, she said, “felt a little bit like [she’s] just going to be around books, talking about books, and sharing books a lot” which felt like her childhood was “gearing up to this one moment”.

Now that she is the librarian, Ms. Hollander has some exciting goals and projects to help make the library a place for all students and staff to find an abundance of resources and enjoyment. In the short term, she wants to “[make] sure that the library is functional and [make] sure that kids know that it works”. To do so, Ms. Hollander had introductory sessions with all English classes to update and inform students about what stays the same in the library, what changes, and how to navigate the library. In the near future, she hopes to create a bank of video tutorials in Schoology to make information about the library easier and faster for students to access. In the long term, she wants to “change the culture around the library” and make sure the library becomes a habit rather than an exception for the majority of students. 

Ms. Hollander’s favorite thing about West, she said, is the people at West and how “everybody is deeply invested in creating a sense of belonging” which was something important for her to have, especially as someone not originally from the U.S. She said “it’s hard when you’re an immigrant to feel like you belong somewhere and, here at West, I feel like I found a place to belong to. That’s my favorite part about West.” In addition, Ms. Hollander mentioned the inspiration she draws from the Glenbard West English Department and their abundance of creative ideas; she also draws inspiration from “the picture books [she] read about librarians when [she] was growing up [that] painted a picture of what libraries should be: they should be these magical places full of answers and wonder and creativity and not this stifled, shushing environment”. 

Ms. Hollander is most excited about helping kids pick “the perfect book”. She compares the feeling to wizards in Harry Potter receiving their wands at Ollivander’s: “the moment when [students] get a book and they’re like ‘I’m actually excited for it’, that’s the best part”. Ultimately, she strives to create an environment in the Elliott Library that was as magical and enchanting as the books she cherished as a child.