Faculty Spotlight: Mrs. Meg O’Neill


Credit: Sean Ma

Seyeon (Kelly) Min, Managing Editor

As a librarian and director of the Pingree Learning Commons, Mrs. O’Neill has dedicated the last 12 years to welcoming students into the Pingree library, creating a comfortable environment, and spreading her love of literature to students. She concludes her Pingree journey this school year, and we are thrilled to honor her work at the school. I asked Mrs. O’Neill several questions regarding her experiences and future plans; here is how she responded. 

How do you feel about leaving Pingree where you spent a great amount of time?

Oh, I’m feeling lots of feelings! Mostly I’m feeling grateful for all of the amazing students and families that I’ve come to know and love, the faculty with whom I’ve been able to collaborate, and the opportunities that I’ve embraced and grown from. 

Do you have any favorite moments you would like to share? 

In a day and age when libraries are closing doors due to funding and books are being banned, a student asked if we could expand our current Library Learning Commons and add another whole level. I loved this for so many reasons but especially because I had fun daydreaming about a slide going from the Quiet Library to a room downstairs.

I also remember heartfelt laughter and spontaneous conversation topics in advisory, including off-campus excursions in the Scholars on Board vans. Joining a virtual interschool book club and making new connections with students and teachers from Lawrence Academy during the very isolating pandemic was also unforgettable! 

What are some of your future plans after you leave Pingree? Are you continuing your passion for helping others in a library? 

I’m a huge advocate for libraries, and I plan to continue to champion libraries as learning opportunities and invaluable contributors to their communities. A public library is a key to any democracy in terms of sharing resources, providing equitable access, and doing all of this for free! Starting in June, I’ll be a community librarian at the Sawyer Free Public Library in Gloucester which means I’ll get to work with a team of library professionals and enthusiasts who are committed to helping folks of all ages, backgrounds, and identities to feel a sense of welcoming and belonging. Come and visit me anytime!

Can you share a bit about the history of the Pingree library?

When I first came to 

Pingree in 2010, the group study room near the rotunda was the librarian’s office and was filled with file cabinets and old paperwork. I immediately decided to have that space made into a workspace for students rather than an office for one person, especially since I prefer to be out and about getting to know students and keeping an eye on what’s happening. Pingree shifted from a Library to a Library Learning Commons model in 2013 and then hosted a Learning in Commons Conference in 2014 which was attended by over 180 educators from across North America. The Class of 2014 also donated our Lego Wall which was very cool! Shortly after that, we were awarded an E.E. Ford Foundation grant and continued with facility updates, including the addition of a second group study room which is also now a production room with a green screen. Once upon a time before X:1 there was a computer lab with desktop computers where the current Writing Center is located, and after that, we had a laptop cart where students could borrow a laptop for class, and now everyone brings a device to campus… if not two or three devices.

What are some of your favorite books? Can you recommend some books to Pingree students?

Keep an eye out for anything written by Mahogany L. Browne, who is both a writer and educator and also the executive director of JustMedia, a media literacy initiative designed to support the groundwork of criminal justice leaders and community members. Other favorite authors include Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, Lisa Genova, Neal Shusterman, Rainbow Rowell, Alice Munro, and Jeanette Winterson.

Any last words for the current and future Pingree students?

Keep reading, learning, growing, exploring, taking risks, and caring for each other!