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The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

McLean welcomes new head librarian

Lisa Koch strives to empower minds and inspire readers
The+New+Head+Librarian%2C+Lish+Koch+standing+next+to+the+newly+arranged+fiction+section.
Hamna Humanyou
The New Head Librarian, Lish Koch standing next to the newly arranged fiction section.

Lisa Koch, the vibrant and passionate librarian at McLean High School, is not just a guardian of books but a facilitator of knowledge and community builder. With a background in research and a deep love for learning, Koch’s journey to becoming a librarian was guided by her curiosity and desire to help students be their best selves. She embarked on a journey that was shaped by her love for research and a desire to inspire students on their educational path.
“I went to [the University of California] Santa Cruz as an undergraduate, and I was an English major. I had an advisor, Bruce Thompson, wh changed my life.” said Koch. “I was thinking about getting a PhD in history or English, and he said, ‘don’t do that, you love research. You should be a librarian.’”
Taking his advice to heart, Koch began her journey by interning at the Santa Cruz Museum and the Watsonville Historical Archives. While Koch’s experiences in special collections and archives shaped her initial career, it was her realization of the impact she could have on students that led her to pursue a teaching license.
“I realized that I didn’t really want to work in archives and special collections anymore, and that I really wanted to help students be their best selves,” Koch said “Working in archives is fun, but helping students on their journey is way more rewarding.”
Koch pursued a teaching license and started working in Fairfax County to pursue her passion for being a librarian.
“I initially worked at Lewis High School,” Koch said. “My second year, we won an award for National School Library Program of the Year from the American Association of School Librarians.”
Later, Koch moved to McLean High School, where she aims to make a significant impact on the school community. As a librarian, she wears multiple hats, primarily focusing on student service and instruction.
“I’m always here to serve students,” Koch said. “I’m here to create a space and a collection that is going to meet students’ needs for instruction, but also for their pleasure reading and will foster a community of learners.”
Koch understands and emphasizes the importance of incorporating reading into one’s daily life, due to its physical, social and mental benefits.
“Research shows how long term income is higher for people who are pleasure readers, and it also reduces stress. It’s one of the best things you can do when you’re stressed out,” Koch said. “It’s [also] a great way to build connections. When you read a book and you talk to someone else about it, you learn something about yourself, but you also learn something about someone else.”
Outside the library, Koch is a perpetual learner. Her hobbies include exploring various crafts, such as her recent venture into crocheting as well as reading nonfiction.
“I like to learn new things. So I learned how to crochet this summer. That was really fun,” Koch said. “I read a book this summer that I really liked, called High Conflict by Amanda Ripely. I really like that book because it’s nonfiction. It’s just about building connections between people and not making assumptions.”
Koch enjoys McLean’s vibrant environment and Highlanders who reciprocate her energy.
“I just have really loved being at McLean and meeting all of our really cool students. Our students have so much good energy,” said Koch. “When I say, ‘have a great day,’ students say it back. I love being a part of student learning and seeing them on this journey and seeing them grow.”
Koch’s journey as a librarian mirrors her commitment to fostering a love for learning, making her an invaluable asset to McLean High School and a beacon of inspiration for students and colleagues alike. Through her dedication, the library becomes not just a space with shelves of books but a vibrant hub of curiosity, connection, and endless possibilities.

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