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    Returning to ISB: A Homecoming for Malai Tananone

    A familiar face recently returned to the halls of the International School Bangkok (ISB), albeit in a different role, this time as a Library Intern. Meet Malai Tananone, an ISB alum whose journey has come full circle as she studies for her second master's degree, intertwining her past experiences with her present aspirations.

    Malai's Journey: From Teaching to Library Internship

    Malai's story is one of connection, growth, and the invaluable lessons learned through embracing community. With her passion for libraries and her background in education, having taught in the United States, India, and Japan, her recent endeavor as a library intern at ISB highlights her dedication to learning and contributing to the spaces that shaped her.


    Hands-On Learning: Malai's Dive into Library Science

    Although her Masters in Libraries and Information Science at Louisiana State University does not require a practicum, Malai decided to go the extra mile to get that hands-on learning experience. “Knowing myself as a learner, I knew that I would need to experience it for myself to really understand the theories and the information I was learning in the courses and see how that applied, so I decided to reach out to my former colleagues and ask them if they would be willing to help me out,” said Malai.

    Community Ties: The Heart of Malai's ISB Experience

    Returning to ISB felt like coming home for Malai, with familial ties deeply rooted within the community. She said, “There are still teachers here who taught me, but there are so many members of the Thai staff that I remember that are still here and who either recognized me or would recognize that I was my mom’s daughter…the library staff, was the library staff when I was a student. There’s a gardener here who’s known me for probably 20+ years. So that’s been nice.

    Her mother's long-standing career as a teacher at ISB, coupled with her own and her brother's education at ISB, paved the way for a network of relationships that welcomed her with open arms. These connections proved instrumental as Malai seamlessly integrated into her role as a library intern. Malai said, “there are still a lot of people in the ISB community who knew who we were and we have relationships with, so it really also felt natural to reach out. So [I’m] very lucky to have this community and the relationships we’ve sustained.” 


    Lessons Learned: Insights from Malai's Library Internship

    Throughout her internship, Malai's dedication and adaptability shone brightly. She took a deliberate break from coursework to fully invest herself in the experience, recognizing the importance of focusing her energy on learning from seasoned librarians. Malai's willingness to take risks and immerse herself in new challenges, such as assisting in planning and teaching library classes to students of varying ages, speaks volumes about her commitment to growth.

    For Malai, the internship wasn't just about fulfilling academic requirements; it was a journey of self-discovery and appreciation for the intricacies of library management. From observing the inner workings of collection management to forging meaningful relationships with staff and faculty, every aspect of the experience enriched her understanding of the librarian's role.

    The Power of Relationships: Key Takeaways from Malai's Experience

    One of the most profound lessons Malai gleaned from her time at ISB was the paramount importance of relationships, “especially in a position like a librarian, where you are interacting with a lot more people. I interact with a lot of people as a teacher, but I didn’t always get to work with the science teachers, etc. You know, we tried, you always try to do interdisciplinary work, but it’s a little bit different because, as Melinda Kehe [ISB’s Middle School Librarian] taught me – in the role of the librarian, you are there to support, in a way, someone else’s vision. So that was a really key takeaway. Whether it was reconnecting with familiar faces or building new bonds within the community, Malai recognized that genuine connections lay at the heart of every successful endeavor. 

    As she reflects on her internship experience, Malai emphasizes “ how generous they [ISB Librarians] were with their time, their expertise, and their knowledge so just how generous they were with that and also how they were like “jump right in!” and they [would say] “come to these meetings,” “what are your thoughts on…?”, you know they would include me in the planning and were happy to share the air. That was really generous of them and showed, also, that they trusted me so that also helped to build confidence.”


    Moving Forward: Malai's Continued Journey and Impact

    Malai's internship at ISB may have been brief, but its impact resonates deeply within her. She reflected, “I think for me, again, just the gratitude and the care that this community, the Thai staff, the library staff, the librarians have shown me and the care that I am successful at what I hope to do.” Armed with newfound knowledge and a profound appreciation for the role of libraries in educational institutions, Malai is poised to continue her journey.

    In Malai Tananone's story, we find inspiration in the enduring bonds of community, the value of lifelong learning, and the impact of embracing new experiences. As she sets out on the next chapter of her journey, one thing remains clear: her roots at ISB run deep, anchoring her in a legacy of excellence and a commitment to making a difference, one connection at a time.

    Connect with ISB and embrace lifelong learning with us; inquire today to explore our community and the education we provide our students.

    Academics Alumni Community Staff