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Mari Pongkhamsing Has Plans for Our Library


Meet Mari Pongkhamsing, our new librarian. Mari has been a student and a parent and a teacher at The Meher Schools and has worked here on and off since high school.


In recent years, she’s been providing extra support to small groups of students and one-to one tutoring. At the same time, she’s been working part-time on the reference and children’s desks at the San Leandro Public Library. Now she’s combining her love of libraries, teaching, and children in her new role here. She replaces Thea Montandon, who retired in June after 33 years as our librarian.


Over time Mari will be culling out-of-date books from the library’s 23,000-book collection and buying new ones. Some of those will be graphic novels. “We only have a few now, and they’re very popular.”

“I hope to explore the idea of the library as a ‘makerspace’ (collaborative workspace) and add some creative projects and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) activities to the library curriculum,” she says. “We’ll also practice some research skills using our Chromebooks.”


Mari comes to us with an abundance of qualifications. She has a master’s degree in library and information science and a special education credential. She also has an MA in folklore and interned for a summer at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


She attended school here from preschool through fifth grade. Two of our other staff members, Room 4’s Rosanna Allen and Elementary Co-Principal Ivy Summers, were a year ahead of her, and the three were in combined third-fourth and fourth-fifth classes together.


Mari’s son, Ollie, graduated from our fifth grade last year. Her daughter, Anjali, is in our second grade.