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Lincoln elementary school librarian celebrated on NBC's "TODAY"

Betsy Thomas is an elementary school librarian at Kooser Elementary in Lincoln. She creates videos to keep the love of reading alive while schools are closed. (Image source: TODAY)
Betsy Thomas is an elementary school librarian at Kooser Elementary in Lincoln. She creates videos to keep the love of reading alive while schools are closed. (Image source: TODAY)(KSNB)
Published: May. 6, 2020 at 6:53 AM CDT
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Betsy Thomas is making a big impact on her students at Kooser Elementary in Lincoln.

The school librarian is armed with a green screen and a closet full of costumes.

During National Teacher Appreciation Week, NBC'S "TODAY" is airing a special series called TODAY Loves Teachers. It is honoring educators who have gone beyond the call of duty during the coronavirus pandemic. Hoda Kotb profiled Thomas Tuesday morning on the show.

Thomas is helping her students keep the love reading alive with the help of costumes, a great screen and a whole lot of heart.

She has created dozens of video.

Her daily virtual story time is a must see for the kids.

"I don't have kids of my own, but they are my kids. I have 750-some kids and I want them to know that we care about them, we love them and miss them," she said.

One of her students said it's super cool, saying she's bringing the library to them.

Thomas said she though what could she do while sitting by herself every day at home. She made a quick pirate video and then the ball kind of rolled out of control.

She really gets creative when it comes to each video.

For one video, she borrowed some chickens so it went with the book and on dinosaur day, she became a dinosaur by stepping into costume.

One parent said seeing Mrs. Thomas every day go to this kind of work, she can't imagine the planning and prep. She said it's meant a lot to her family.

Her basement is now a makeshift TV studio. That's where she keeps all her supplies and where the magic happens.

She's rapped, rocked, danced, baked and even blasted off.

To show how much they love her, Mrs. Thomas's students and their parents organized a little surprise.

Kotb helped with the surprise moment. She distracted her while the kids gathered in her front yard.

Kotb told Thomas that Spirit Halloween is donating 40 costumes to help her get through the summertime and they are giving her a $1,000 gift card.

"Because I don't know if you realize the light you're shining during this time, how much people need what you're doing, not just your students, but grownups like us. Like, you really are lifting us up

that is so that is so nice will you just walk up your stairs an toward your front door," Kotb said.

Once Thomas opened the door, cheering ensued as the kids held signs and waved showing their appreciation to their favorite librarian.

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