Packer Weekly: Library using its budget on something new
Each year the school library receives a building-based budget set from administration. A certain amount of that budget is allotted for books, periodicals and supplies. Media specialist Jane Holland has two main focuses when she purchases books for the library: to support teachers and curriculum and to buy the books students simply love.
Every year the library purchases 2,000-4,000 books, which includes fiction, nonfiction, eBooks, and replacement copies. With limited space, the library goes through a process known as weeding.
“We call it ‘weeding’ in the library world,” Holland said. “There are essentially two ways to do it. With nonfiction the thing to worry about is currency. We want to have the most accurate books. For fiction, we weed out wearing books or books that are not being read.”
The library tries to replace science textbooks after about 2-3 years. The fiction books that Holland does dispose of will either be recycled or donated.
“Often times if the book is something old and it’s in good condition but hasn’t been read, we will try to call some of the nursing homes and places like that,” Holland said. “We donated a few books to the High Rise in West Fargo several years ago. If the books are in poor condition we end up throwing them away or recycling them. If there is a way to salvage them, we will try to.”
After 10 years of working in the library, Holland has noticed how it has changed so dramatically.
“We are trying to make the library itself to be a place that is more welcoming and current,” Holland said. “Next year instead of tables of four, I would like to be able to have a class in here and teach. We are just trying to change things up.”
Along with new editions to the library, Holland also wants to keep up with media and technology by purchasing two kinds of eBooks.
“There are two different ways we have eBooks coming in,” Holland said. “One of them is the single user access and the other one simultaneous user access. Single user access means that only one person at a time can look at a book and simultaneous access means that everybody and anyone can look at it.”
There are plenty of features that come with the eBooks. Students can open up the table of contents and click to anywhere in the book, students can search for specific words or phrases, listen to an audio book, and students can highlight and write notecards.
“If a student was working on a research paper, they can add a note to the page and put in their scratch outline,” Holland said. “After all of that, they can print out all of the highlighted pages and pages with notes.”
Although West Fargo School District Superintendent David Flowers likes the tactical experience of an old fashioned turn-the-page book, he thinks eBooks can be beneficial to the students.
“Have you ever needed a particular book or periodical, only to find that it’s checked out to someone else?” Flowers said. “That won’t be a problem with digital access. A computer or other device can provide access to thousands of books.”
Students like junior Casey Jonson enjoy the option of having the books online.
“It’s really nice because now I don’t ever have to worry about losing a book for English,” Jonson said. “I can just go back on the website and it will open right where I had it.”
To make it even easier for students to access the eBooks, they can download the free Destiny Quest app in the Apple or Android market.
“Not only is it nice for access for everybody, but now you are talking about being able to enrich curriculum,” Holland said. “It is that instant access in our society that we need in order to do what we need to do.”
(The Packer Weekly is an ongoing column authored by journalism students at West Fargo High School with the intent of providing awareness about and insight into a variety school-related topics and activities. For additional information visit www.westfargopacker.org)