'Today Show' features Kooser librarian

The NBC “Today Show” on Tuesday featured Kooser Elementary School librarian Betsy Thomas, who has gained a following far beyond Lincoln for the videos she creates to keep students engaged during remote learning. 

She’s dressed as a bee, a pirate and an astronaut, to name only a few. She’s also driven a tractor and a forklift, and read a book to students while chickens gathered near her feet. 

“Today Show” host Hoda Kotb interviewed Thomas via Zoom, then surprised her with a donation of 40 costumes she can wear during future videos, as well as a $1,000 gift card. But the surprises didn’t end there. Kotb asked Thomas to walk out her front door, where she was greeted by a lawn filled with students dressed in their own costumes and holding up signs of appreciation.

Said an emotional Thomas: “I wish I could come hug all of you but we need to stay socially distanced.”

On Wednesday, Thomas reflected more on the whirlwind ride it's been.

"This has been so heartwarming to hear and read all the kind messages. I’m so honored and just feel like I’m doing my job. It really makes me proud to be a small part of such an amazing library team at LPS," said Thomas, who went on to thank LPS Director of Library Media Services Chris Haeffner and her staff, all the elementary school librarians and her colleagues at Kooser. "I hope that if anything people realize how much we teachers love and miss our students and that we want them to keep growing and learning even in this difficult time."

Kooser Principal Ann Jablonski said even though Thomas had no intention for her videos to be seen outside the LPS community, she's glad she's receiving national recognition. "It has been so fun to watch talented teachers, like Betsy, create fun and unique ways to reach students during this pandemic."

You can watch the video here.

Published: May 6, 2020, Updated: May 8, 2020