Susan Heraper retires after 12 years

After 12 years of tireless work in the Sage Library and 25 years of teaching in total, Susan Heraper is retiring from NPHS. From inspiring students to read to providing books and resources for students for every class, Heraper played a major role in the lives of students and staff alike.

After working at Redwood Middle School for 11 years, Heraper recalled the differences between the two campuses. “Coming to the high school, it was a lot. It was a challenge. It was a challenge that I was looking forward to,” Heraper said. “I enjoy choosing the books for the library, helping students find the right book that [I would] be excited about reading the books myself. And Newbury Park has a great reputation.”

Fey Ouyang has worked as Heraper’s assistant and library technician for 5 years. “It’s so hard to get older kids to read books but [Heraper] always tried to get new ideas or different displays or different themes to try to attract more readers,” Ouyang said.

Despite a common belief that teacher’s assistants can only offer their help to teachers, Heraper influenced students, including Thea Duc, senior, to offer support in the library. “She’s such a good librarian, and just makes it so fun [and] has so many creative ideas. So it’ll be sad to see her go, but it was a good time,” Duc said.

Heraper described the changes she made to the library. “I’ve taken out a lot of the older library books that are newer books here from when the library first opened, books published in the 1960s or before, and so we really updated the collection. We really expanded the fiction. There’s a lot higher percentage of fiction compared to nonfiction now than there used to be,” Heraper said. “I think I’ve really tried to communicate, especially through the library website, which I update on a regular basis and the newsletters that I send out once a week, you know, to everyone and then also reading promotions,” Heraper said.

Christy Hodson, NPHS English teacher of 17 years, experienced at least four other librarians other than Heraper while working at the school and describes the time in which Heraper took over for the late Mr. Carr, NPHS English teacher, following his tragic death. “She was able to take over one of Mr. Carr’s classes and they met with her in the library every day. And she took them through the assignment and the fact that she was able to step up like that,” Hodson said.

Despite Hodson’s appreciation towards all previous librarians at the school, in Hodson’s eyes, Heraper was different from all of the others. “She never makes people feel uncomfortable or feel a shortcoming…I’ve always called her an honorary member of the English department because she’s just such a support to us,” Hodson said.

Retirement for Heraper not only means an end to her presence at NPHS, but an opportunity to explore the rest of the world outside of school. “I’m looking forward to being able to travel whenever I want and not just during the school vacations. I’m looking forward to seeing my family more and I’m talking about my extended family because my husband and my daughters were the only ones that live here in California,” Heraper said.

Regarding her hope for the future of the Sage Library, Heraper wishes that the new librarian finds the transition to NPHS as cordial as her transition to the Sage library was when she first started 12 years ago. “I hope that the library will continue to go in the direction that it was going because I think that I did build a strong program. [I] hope that the new person who, [we]don’t know who that’s going to be yet, will find it very welcoming here [and will] have as good of experience as I have,” Heraper said.