A Trip to the Library

Whitney Young is full of fascinating people. Some of them are even staff. One such faculty member is our librarian, Dr. Deborah Barnes. Dr. Barnes may be a stickler when it comes to Instructional Support but underneath her strict layer is actually a lot of fun and interesting facts.

Dr. Barnes welcomed us into the library with a warm smile and even a “shush” when we got too rowdy. She was very kind and was very open to answering any questions even if they hinted to how old she was-which is something she hesitated to share. Dr. Barnes proudly let us know that she was born and raised on the southside of Chicago and even attended South Shore High school from 1981 to 1985. It’s crazy to think that our teachers were once young. Not only was Dr. Barnes young once but she also was heavily involved in high school clubs and activities. She was on the cheerleading team as well as part of the school newspaper. Dr. Barnes was also an exceptional all-around student. She adds, “I was relatively quiet because I was part of the Principal Scholarship program and we had honors classes all 4 years…” No wonder she’s so passionate about students actually being productive in school.

Dr. Barnes went on to explain her love for working with youth in schools which led to her involvement with CPS. She smiled when she stated that she had been working as a librarian for 23 years.

Dr. Barnes didn’t always want to be a librarian though. She aspired to become a teacher but when the time came to apply for the job at a certain school, the position was already filled. The school was kind enough to offer Dr. Barnes a position as a librarian. She was perfect for the job because she was already so organized and was highly recommended by the principal. Though she already had a degree in Elementary Education, she went back to school to gain a Master’s Degree in Library Science.

While working as a librarian for Whitney Young, Dr. Barnes has developed plenty of pet peeves. Her biggest pet peeves include students that don’t respect the fact that she doesn’t give out grades, students that come to the library just to talk, and students that sneak in food. Davia Murray ‘17 has experience with Dr. Barnes’s strict rules. “Yeah, Dr. Barnes caught me sneaking in food…I haven’t done it again.” She went on to explain that these ‘trouble-makers’ would be handled by having private conversations with them or asking them to leave period. Brookie Irvin ‘16 says “I can’t wait to see my home girl, Dr. Barnes, 7th period…I love her!” Dr. Barnes definitely isn’t the force to be reckoned with.

While interviewing our favorite librarian, we found out that she has hidden talents. Dr. Barnes sings and and plays the piano. She has even been a part of a professional Chicago Mass Gospel Choir that traveled across the world. Now, she only sings with her church choir. Dr. Barnes lit up when she described her musical talents and her love for the activity. She also didn’t fail to mention that being active in her church was a huge part of her life and that it and work constantly kept her busy.

Dr. Barnes is a personable staff member that students have gotten to know and love. “I love seeing her everyday. That’s my girl! We still have to get our tacos together!” (Danyelle Williams ‘17) She can be someone to talk to when you’re stressed and confused or even just bored in the library. She’s easily one of our favorite members of the WY team.