Library co-directors end their chapters at US

Ms. Duncan and Ms. Hoven depart after 11 collective years


Alexandra Lev, Contributing Writer

Although the stereotypical interaction between a librarian and a library patron may sound like the quick scan of a book’s barcode and a cordial “thanks” as the book is passed back, a library interaction at the Almy Library with Library Co-Directors Camille Hoven and Laura Duncan usually involves an enthusiastic exclamation about how good the book is as well as a list of 10 other recommendations similar to the checked-out book, Asher Parker-Sartori ’23 said.

The Almy Library has been far from boring with Ms. Hoven and Ms. Duncan in charge, Asher said. Ms. Duncan arrived at the Upper School (US) as the library co-director eight years ago, followed five years later by Ms. Hoven.

During the past three years, the duo has worked to make the library a productive place and helpful resource, Maxwell Laibson ’25 said. Both librarians enjoy aiding students with projects and assignments, Maxwell said.

“I was looking for a book for my research project [this spring when] Ms. Duncan not only helped me find a whole section with books about my topic, but also taught me how to look up library books and use the Dewey Decimal System,” Maxwell said.

Throughout these past few years, the library has hosted many events ranging from poetry readings to Ukraine discussions, the annual March Madness book competition, and frequent author Zoom bombs. Of the many events, Ms. Hoven said her favorite was the Black History Month poetry slam during the fall of 2019.

Ms. Hoven said she is grateful for all the students she has connected with over the years, especially her advisory which she will miss greatly.

“I think the biggest lesson for me was learning that there is so much I don’t know and there is so much I want to learn,” she said. “I hoped I could learn a lot from the students, just like they could learn from me and that was a really nice experience.” Outside of the Almy Library, Ms. Hoven and Ms. Duncan both take on many roles in the US, overseeing many in-school and extracurricular activities.

Ms. Hoven has been an adviser, co-chair of the Diversity Committee, and a faculty adviser for numerous clubs including the Latino/Hispanic Student Association, EMPOWER, and the student publication Society.

Ms. Duncan is the faculty adviser for FemCo and is adored by the members, Alisa Ishii ’23 said.

“I appreciate that [Ms. Duncan] is always engaged in our club and always helps us plan out discussions and our topics,” Alisa said. “It is really fun to collaborate with her and her presence has made FemCo what it is today.”

History Teacher Sasha Lyons said though Ms. Duncan and Ms. Hoven have done many things to help student-run extracurriculars, they deserve special praise for assisting with the annual history papers throughout all grades.

“They make my life so much easier and so much better. It is just so overwhelming to get everybody’s sources looked at and they are so helpful,” Ms. Lyons said. “They go above and beyond on helping the paper and sourcing it. I am always so impressed with the depth of their knowledge on how to do these things.”

Madeleine Brodeur ’23 said Ms. Hoven and Ms. Duncan have created a strong support system in this school, making the library a safe space for students to receive help and advice— mostly on how to deal with the large amount of work.

“[Ms. Hoven] changed my entire BB&N experience with her genuine kindness; she is so compassionate and giving. She, time and time again, always puts her advisees’ needs before her own and cares for each one of us so much. Whenever I have a problem with school-related issues or even personal [difficulties], Ms. Hoven gives the best advice. It always comes from a place of love, but more importantly she helps you figure things [out] for your best interest,” Madeleine said.

Ms. Duncan said she hopes she leaves a lasting impact on students during her time at the school.

“I hope I have been a kind face to students who needed it, and I hope that I have renewed a student’s love for reading on occasion,” she said. “Most importantly, I hope my relationships with students have felt meaningful to them because they’ve certainly felt meaningful to me.”