Florida Atlantic University's John D. MacArthur Campus Library
Leah Plocharczyk’s deep commitment to community, inclusion, and scientific inquiry, has made a powerful impact on the students at Florida Atlantic University.
Leah initiated the first book club for adults with intellectual disabilities at an academic library. To meet students where and how they learn, she creates a less formal atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable reading and discussing books. She incorporates educational games and fun activities like movie viewings and pizza parties to help students learn in an interactive and cooperative way. The book club has become so popular the library has added new groups to accommodate demand. Through her work with the book club, Leah has contributed to academic research on special education.
When she was asked to help faculty come up with outreach ideas to promote a campus-wide initiative on leadership, she selected a book that explained the subject in terms of dog behavior. Her approach in finding a book that students could relate to generated interest in the school’s leadership discussion groups and presentations. The success of the program was documented in a published article on library outreach.
Leah’s work has also taken her beyond the library’s walls and school’s campus to the ocean. She collaborated with marine biologists on an experiment studying dolphin migration patterns. The project is an example of how libraries can contribute to scientific research.
In the words of her nominator, “Leah is a model librarian that is the pinnacle of professionalism and sincerely assists colleagues, faculty, and students with poise.”