School News Editor
After twenty-five years of being a librarian at Akiba and Barrack, Mrs. Sittenfield has made a difficult decision; she has decided to retire in June 2023 and move on to a new chapter in her life. This will be the first time we will not see her smiling face around the third-floor upper school hallway. Not only has she worked tirelessly to ensure an extraordinary library for the school, but she has also contributed so much to the Barrack community. She was awarded the 2015 Librarian Award of the Year, and she has been a source of inspiration, guidance, and support for countless students, from leading her mindfulness class to organizing and setting up different displays to providing a comfortable setting for students in the library. During an interview with Mrs. Sittenfield, I asked her what she loved most about being a librarian at Barrack, and her response was the kids. “If I didn’t make the kids have fun, my life would be boring.” Mrs. Sittenfield was always eager to help any student. She would help you find any book and was willing to sit with you and help you find sources if you needed them for a research paper. According to Mrs. Sittenfield:
"The most important thing a librarian has to do is to care for the well-being of every student. This is my priority. Kids are stressed when they have to do research for school. And they would calm down when they had the sources."
Mrs. Sittenfield would meet with you one-on-one to help you find the best sources. She also worked hard on the library catalog on the JBHA website so students could find books or sources much more easily. Mrs. Sittenfield is the type of person who is always in the mood at any given time to discuss anything. She is so easy to talk to and so kind-hearted. At Barrack, she was inclined to give a big hello to anyone she passed by in the halls. Being there for her students is the trait Mrs. Sittenfield values most. She enjoyed watching as many school musicals as possible. "To me, watching a Barrack musical is more interesting than watching a Broadway show," Mrs. Sittenfield told me. She also would take the time to get to know every student. "I always find something special about each kid." During the Covid pandemic, Mrs. Sittenfield would wrap and deliver books to students' homes. This shows her deep connections to the students at Barrack. Even after students graduate, Mrs. Sittenfield keeps in touch with as many as possible. During her retirement, she plans on being on the Board of Directors at the Bala Cynwyd Library for the programming committee, and she also plans on being a matchmaker and training with star Aliza Ben Shalom from the Jewish Matchmaking show on Netflix.
Mrs. Sittenfield has been more than a librarian; she's been a mentor, guide, and friend to countless students and staff. Her legacy of literacy and love for learning will continue to thrive within the library's walls. Her kindness, approachability, and genuine interest she took in our lives made us feel valued and understood. We will miss you, Mrs. Sittenfield.