By Nafisa Hossain
Using all of the services that the Joseph F. Compese Memorial Library (the Granada Hills Charter High School library) offers is an essential element to any GHCHS student’s experience. At the library, students can print out homework assignments, work on projects after school, or check out books from a variety of selections. Working all of the functions of the school library behind the scenes is the school librarian and Advanced Placement (AP) Art History teacher, L. E. Spear.
Librarians are stereotypically believed to lead quiet and uneventful lives, but Spear’s life proves that the “boring librarian” canon is an inaccurate depiction that could be nothing further from the truth. In fact, her life would have anyone perched at the edge of his or her seat, hanging onto her every word.
Spear joined the Granada family in September 2005, first starting off as the testing coordinator and then later becoming the school librarian. She has an unmatched appreciation for art and is both a great AP Art History and a great school librarian.
Although Spear was born in the U.S., her family divided their time between the U.S. and England while she was growing up. She enjoyed her time in England, and specifically recalls the fun she would have during school breaks. During these breaks, she and her friends would take the train by using their Eurorail passes, which made their travels easy and affordable.
Spear spent much of her life traveling around Europe. She lived a year abroad in Italy for her art history degree from the School of Art History and Music at the University of East Anglia in Norrich, England. While there, she visited Rome, Milan, Florence and Tuscany.
Spear has also traveled to 12 other countries including Egypt, China, and Japan. However, among all her international experiences, her favorite destination of all may seem surprising: Portland, Oregon. Spear loves Portland for its bookstores, food, weather, and Bush Gardens.
Spear’s travels increased her knowledge and appreciation of art history and film. After college, she started off as a drama teacher at Oriel County High School in Gorleston-on-Sea, England. On her first day on the job, she learned that her clearly unenthusiastic drama students would have to perform William Shakespeare’s play, “Macbeth,” with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a month’s time. At the time, she was a complete stranger to the students in her drama class and had to whip them into shape in time for the production. Some students in the class never read the script and others could not even read. However, her drama students managed to pull it off.
A smiling Spear said, “It was amazing the change they went through. Before long, they were enthusiastic about ‘Macbeth.’ I remember that the actor playing Macbeth was very uneager about the performance but he had a crush on another actress, so he learned the play to become a very confident Macbeth in hopes of impressing her. I hope for his sake it worked out.”
Spear’s love for adventure has led her all over the world and contributed to her vast literary and art history knowledge, making her the best librarian for GHCHS.