Inside ECS – Bradley Compton, Elkhart Central

Have you wondered how a library in 2017 compares to the libraries of yesterday? We sat down with media specialist Bradley Compton from Elkhart Central to get his thoughts and to learn more about him.

For people in the community who might not know, can you tell us about a high school media center?

School media centers are busy places.  Even though some may consider libraries obsolete, and even though libraries are quickly evolving, media centers are first and foremost libraries. Public and school libraries have always been community spaces where people come to find books, read, study, and socialize.  Now that media centers have incorporated computer labs, assisting patrons with technology and helping them find, use, and evaluate electronic information is a fundamental component of working in a media center.

How is your role different than the stereotypical, antiquated image of a “librarian”? How has the role changed? How have libraries changed?

Information technology and library science have always had a symbiotic relationship.  Library classification systems informed the development of electronic information organization and retrieval; and computer technology continuously augments how libraries do what they do.  The librarian’s role hasn’t changed in essence – it has just broadened.  Librarians still do what they always have – help patrons find information they need and books they enjoy reading.  I believe librarianship will always maintain that ethic of service.

What inspired you to become a professional in library sciences?

I have a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and wanted to explore philosophical issues dealing with information technology and human existence as a library and information studies graduate student.  After attaining my doctorate, I published a few scholarly journal articles analyzing an area of philosophy and knowledge management systems called ontology.  In time, I decided that I wanted to return to the service roots of the discipline and sought employment as a school media specialist.

What do you most enjoy about working with students? 

I get a rush out of seeing the reaction to learning something new.  That moment, even if it’s small in degree, has changed that person’s life.  I also enjoy the interpersonal connections and seeing in students what I was and in many ways still am.  I’m aware that there’s a high school-aged Bradley still inside me – that makes empathizing with students easy despite the age difference.

Any touching work-related moments you’d like to share?

There are many touching moments, but any time a student confides in me or asks for personal, academic, or career advice, I’m humbled and honored that I’m in a position to help and connect in that capacity.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Besides being a cinema nerd, when I have time, I like to play guitar and sing – mostly old country music.  I love those songs because they take the ugliness in the world and make something beautiful out of it.  My favorite books, movies, art, etc., tend to do the same.  When a writer, artist, or any creative person can do that, it seems to give pain and sadness meaning and helps us feel like we’re not alone.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your students, your responsibilities, or Elkhart Central with the Elkhart community?

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my experience here in this staff spotlight.  I’m impressed with Central’s and Elkhart Community Schools’ dedication to maintaining high standards and to a student-centered pedagogy.  Our commitment to student success is holistic in that it encompasses students’ overall well-being in addition to academic and career achievement.