How often do the middle schoolers get to visit the library during the school day/week?
The students get to come in during their lunch break and also after school on Mondays and Wednesdays until 3:00 pm. We are the only library in the district open after school. Many of the students do not have computer or internet access at home, so it's nice that we can provide this service for them.
How would you describe the state of your library and books?
Our books are very outdated and there has been very little funding for new books since I've been here. My dad actually donated many books my first year. In my second year, we were very fortunate, the PTA allocated $1000 for me to buy new books. This year, we are back to zero funding and donations from my dad.
At my daughter's school, this is the first year since first grade that there has been funding for a librarian at all. My daughter is in 6th grade now.
What resources get underutilized?
This library had not been used or open to the students for a few years. When I started three years ago, many kids didn't even know that the school had a library at all. The books themselves are very underutilized because the students hadn't been introduced to the Dewey Decimal System. Many do not know how to look up fiction books alphabetically. And these are 7th and 8th graders!!
What resources do the kids use most?
They come in to use the computers for homework and to work on class projects.
What are the most requested genre/book titles right now middle schoolers?
Right now, it's all about fantasy, young adult romance, and alternative societies.
How do you help the reluctant reader?
I usually find out where their interests lie and then I will suggest something that I have personally read. That way, I can check where they are in the book and we can discuss what they think might happen next.
When you do get funding, how do you decide which books to buy?
Last year, I had the kids that came to the library everyday, make a list of all the books they wanted. I bought from their list. We have a pretty great Manga section developing.
What do you want kids to know about the library that they probably don’t?
I think the middle school kids think the library is boring. Some don't even try to read. I would love to tap into their interests and find that one book that would open the world of reading to them. I want them to discover that the library isn't boring or scary. It could be a get away, a vacation to another world!!
What does the library have to offer that the internet does not?
I think that kids nowadays have a hard time with imagination. They are just so into watching something and having it portrayed for them. They are not really using their own thoughts and ideas. I think the library could help with that.
Do you see libraries in schools being phased out?
Yes.. I do. It's happened in my kids' school district. Libraries are usually the first to go when there are funding cuts. However, it is slowly coming back. I hope there will always be some funding for the libraries.
What will it take to keep this one running?
Hmmm.. That's hard to say. I think I'm here on a grant. It's not really ever talked about, but the rumor is that there was only funding for three years. I'm on my 3rd year here. I'm hoping that I'll get to come back next year. I would love it if our school could allocate at least $500-$1,000 for new books every year, but I don't know if that will happen. So I must wait to see who else is willing to donate.
What extracurricular programs does your library offer to entice kids to visit?
My first February here, I created "blind date with a book"... I wrapped up some books and put a brief summary on them. The kids didn't know which book they were getting until after they checked it out. That was fun.
I would love to do a book club, but finding enough copies of a single book is challenging.
How many kids might you find in the library on a lunch period?
There are two lunch periods. During each lunch, I usually get a maximum of 20 students, so about 40 a day, which is nice. Most come to use the computers, but I usually have 2 per period that really just come to read. I try to find special books for them. I'll even bring some of my own from home if we don't have it in the library. I don't want the students that are excited about reading to lose interest.
How many books can a student check out at a time?
They can check out three books and can keep them for two weeks.
How is your library making a difference in these kids lives?
I hope they know that they can come here and that it is a safe place to learn. A few graduates have come back to tell me about their high school libraries. So, it makes me hope that our little library influenced their desire to read and seek out other libraries!
To donate books to Garvey Intermediate contact Tricia Manell.