Answers! I must have answers- and book advisories on TRUTH. Justina Ireland provides them.

I loved the sense of humor Justina Ireland presented, represented, and through out to the attendees following her keynote talk – so let’s hit it!

How did you get from California to …Maryland?

“I met a man…” laughing – Ms. Ireland explained she joined the army to get out of a not getting anywhere situation in CA, her husband was from PA when she met him, and then they settled for the east coast – (we are glad she did!).

It was interesting to hear her say most stories in the army started with “No sh*t, there I was…” and soldiers would go around telling stories to that prompt. (laughing). When she told her stories, everyone told her she should be a writer- and of course she imagined older men, stoic and she said that is not for me! We know that was NOT for her, but she is an amazing story teller and she defies that stereotype of what a writer looks like and has to be.

I loved her comment that while she was pregnant, and trying to deal with that identity, (people always rubbing her belly and not really recognizing HER as a human being!)- writing became a way that she found identity, and more of a person.

How do you get your idea for Dread Nation?

I almost do not want to share this because I will not do this justice, but if you know me (Harry)- I think odd things and just am really strange most of the time the way I see things, and I 100% connected when Ms. Ireland said, “I thought it was the most dead people in 1 place, and I thought, what a place for a zombie rising!” I laughed so hard, because I LOVED her answer, LOVED! She want on to say how she comments on how odd of a tragedy it would be when she goes places like what a flood would look like ripping through a valley, etc and her husband just remarks, “What makes you like this?!” VERY funny.

I loved how she also looked at Dread Nation as a form of showing how American has institutionalized education to “educate” (train) populations to think the way they want- from sending indigenous populations to “proper” schools to influencing narrow “truths” in ways throughout the same seating arrangements and procedures in school through the history of education – such an interesting topic.

When asked to come up with a reader’s advisory of books that followed the theme of TRUTH – within SECOND she spouted off so many recommendations, I am sure I only obtained a small portion of what she suggested, but let me try:

Lone Women by Victor Lavalle (Black woman farmer in California)

P. Djeli Clark

A Japanese Internment themes book – author I did not catch, hoping someone attending can help out – author?

A few more names spewed out faster than anyone could catch, so hoping someone else caught them so I could come back and add to this amazing list!

The Return by Rachel Harrison

What an amazing – GREAT keynote – powerful speaker and motivating howe positivity can emerge when so many dark clouds appear on the horizon.

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Literacy Mantra – Searching for Truth in a Desert of Untruths

It is fitting to just let Maryland/Delaware Library Association’s keynote speaker, Justina Ireland’s works sink in:

“Liars are not hurt the most, the innocent are.”

Truth seekers – “As a society, individuals have forgotten how important the truth is.”

“It is not how truth makes you feel, but what you do with it.”

“It is harder being the worst of ourselves versus the best of ourselves.”

“Social relationships are built on trust.”

“People as a group are lazy, It is easy to stay with a comfortable answer rather tan research it.”

“It’s like fiction can contain a little too much truth.”

“Being human can mean looking into how we’ve failed in the past.”

“Let uncomfortable truths challenge us to be better.”

“Fiction gives us a door to handle uncomfortable truths.”

“People who fear truth have to stop those ready to embrace truth.”

“Everyone’s truth is worth embracing fear.”

Takeaways from Justina Ireland’s keynote. It was difficult at first to see where Ms. Ireland was going with her anecdotal story of being a teen and covering as a lookout for a friend when she was doing something she didn’t want her parents to know about -and then lying about it. And paying the consequences for being a “cover” for her friend. Yet, as we get deeper into the story of Ms. Ireland’s experience as a teen, adult, mother, author, and as she experiences the world around her through those roles, if we allow ourselves, we see a bit of ourselves, (okay, maybe a lot), and future generations trying to make sense of this world with the events happening around us.

Maybe it is not so far-fetched that story tellers can weave stories that help interpret truths…

I LOVE (as an educator nerd) the fact that studies between reading fiction to understand empathy, and the idea of “repeatable settings” helping to set the tone of an individual to learn how to handle uncomfortable truths, but work through scenarios through fiction.

Fiction making you a better person?

Fiction and the brain

Anyone that comes bearing studies and providing paths to gaining more insightful information must be a librarian/author/reader, right? Actually Justina Ireland showed it could be any of us.

The anecdotal story how how the question What was the cause of the Civil War stood out to me, as many historian students danced around the question, and when the professor asked why she did not speak up, being surrounded by individuals that did not look like her, she had witnessed possibly an uncomfortable truth in a sea of individuals that unconsciously were not aware they were shying from a truth. Yet, I love how as a history buff, she is able to see societal norms that take uncomfortable truths and gloss them over – torus of mansions with pieces of history left out of the tour, justifying the transatlantic slave trade for the economy of America, a tradition of having weddings in locations where so much tragedy of the past has occurred, subtle, but very much glossed to smooth out an uncomfortable truth.

The comment that adults make miserable readers versus youth, LOVED. Thinking of all the issues and dilemmas adults get caught up with and the energy that youth bring to those same dilemmas, is a lesson we can learn from as adults every day in everything we do.

In saying that it’s like fiction can have a little too much truth when alot of fiction is being asked to be removed by adults, it is important to “…have difficult questions” in order to teach youth what we are showing them” in the best possible way.

When you ask someone to remove something from their book because it is offensive, but based on something that has been a part of our past – we begin to lose a piece of who we are in looking into the mirror of our past to see who we have been, who we are, and who we want to become.

Justina Ireland emphasized that we need to learn to reconcile when we comes across a piece of fiction something that might shake our core, and that we’d be less likely to reject an idea if it is not happening to us, but being able to consider it before outright rejecting it. Totally agree on this, absolutely. SO CONNECTED to Medhi Hasan and perceiving audiences with storytelling (and pathos).

After being a visitor to the Harriet Tubman Museum and Underground Railroad State Park and being able to take in the landscape peacefully among the powerful displays inside the museum, I respected a little more the absolute fight Harriet Tubman had for her very soul, and it would be a complete let down to ignore those truths and move on without resolving to carry fights for the truth forward that matter. It prevents the movements of individuals like Harriet Tubman and so many unheard stories from being erased as a part of our history and representing the often hidden and unheard truths that are our history amid much of history celebrated, that often is not the true history of so many.

It is perfect that Ms. Ireland challenged all to keep truth as everyone’s North Star, just as Harriet Tubman resolved to go back and rescue truths time and time again at her own risk of losing herself.

It is absolutely fascinating to hear questions asked to Ms. Justina Ireland, and I will save that for the next post – to let you take all the really motivating information in about truths and our history.

Absolutely, this keynote message and the messages of truth librarians across the United States is deserved to be passed on to future generations and should be represented.

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Student Views of …decisions/choices/alternatives?

What do students feel when they are asked ? Librarians are always curious, so we first are producing their raw answers and in a day or so, and will extract out what stands out to us as we let content soak in.

Something poignant stands out – “It feels like something that’s happened already that shouldn’t have.” I keep coming back to this one line. It makes me feel and think about topics that relate to librarianship, librarians, and students when they aren’t asked, then they are left out of pertinent conversations, when they aren’t considered. Yet, I also think about how waves of issues can pop up and just fly past you and leave you feeling as if you are a spectator and not actively involved in events around you as so much happens, so quickly, so sudden, sometimes as it just feels like a reaction.

Not sure if that sticks out to you in some way, but that line still sticks in my mind as a come into contact with a myriad of viewpoints, issues, and concerns from individuals from all walks of life. Stay tuned for more 🙂

I love the fact that when asked something that many do not think of asking, students will take the questions themselves and try to gather many opinions of their peers- as happened here. I feel we need to see much more empowerment of youth regarding issues and have more discussions with youth on topics that are occurring around us in librarianship arenas; their thoughts and views will surprise you!

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Board Elections and Librarians? Is there a relationship?

I asked students today in high school, what do you feel about someone else dictating your tastes in resources. I am placing one student comment here and over the next few days will also represent the 45 other student responses as we collect them, as asking students about what is happening around them is often the one aspect of any decision that is often left out. And asking a school librarian too (that is another post, lol).

“My personal belief regarding books, is everyone and anyone, no matter what they identify as or their race or background, should be able to read whatever as they please. I don’t feel it’s right to take that away from someone who wants to relate to what their reading. not everyone has to read these books, it is their decision to make that choice. regardless if these books are taken out of libraries, they are on other platforms to be read, the internet is a source to everything. “

Here is one thing I will say – Parents/guardians have never been forced, pushed, or put into a position to not say or restrict what their child should read, bring home, hear. Ever. Turning the tables around and asking for a Parents Bill of Rights when it comes to literacy or the role of a professional librarian, and not trusting them, not communicating with them, and certainly not being in the “know” about what a whole book, from cover to last page is about (not excerpts but reading the whole book) – and not even being aware IF there is a professional librarian in a school – these are all steps that should be taken BEFORE jumping to needing a bill, law, or policy passed.

Many, if not all, professional trained librarians indeed have a Collection Development Policy created to break down any questions or fears individuals might have.

Organization like American Library Association, American Association for School Libraries, INSURE that librarians are representing ALL patrons fairly, equally, and without political and personal bias. This has not changed in the training of professional librarians ANYWHERE, at ANY TIME.

Parents and guardians are indeed responsible for the guidelines of discipline, access to media in many forms, and information that is important and of value to their family. No bills are needed to reinforce that. No schools and certainly no libraries I have ever worked at or represented have ever violated. that.

If anything, professional librarians make available all resources to all individuals of all beliefs, races and identities. School boards recognize that and support that, not challenge that and in harmony, school boards, admin, teachers, and faculty work in harmony towards that end.

It is not always perfect, but I can tell you, when individuals feel they need to put guardrails on freedoms of literacy, research, and diversity of ideas and not have them available to all patrons, there is a serious cause of concern.

If a student or young person wants to truly disregard the values of a family and find something on the internet, I hate to break his to you, but they will. However, starting with family bases, be it a grandparent, relative, or friend, values that are instilled in individuals through all kinds of family situations are where values originate.

When you vote for school board members, ask yourself these questions:

How often has the candidate reached out to students and found out their perspective of what they value in a school day? What do they like to explore, discover, research and what is their passion? Dream?

How often has a candidate taken an excerpt of a news article, book, journal and is unaware of the WHOLE piece of article, book, or journal?

How many times has a candidate visited a public/school library and communicated with the professional librarian about their routines, policies, choices, elections and the type of patrons that make up their school community?

What is the value of a school librarian to the candidate? Since professional librarians are the first line of knowledge when it comes to resources, what conversations have been made with professional librarians and the candidate of how they impact the school? Is there a professional librarian encouraging readers to check out at least 2-4 items per week and introducing them to a variety of reading scenarios?

Please consider these questions and if your candidate is not actively aware of these grounded questions, you have the right as a vested individual, whether retired, a parent, a cousin, a grandparent to get to know your professional librarian, public or school setting, and have a intelligent, well-directed conversation about these topics.

Professional librarians have been navigating HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of diverse patrons all of their lives – they are TRAINED to do so. That is what makes them professional and respected for all of these years, despite hints and rumors that topics unsavory and smutty are being introduced to library users.

I have been in inner city schools, suburban schools, rural schools, schools in two other countries, and in all their libraries. Never have I seen a child, aged kindergarten to 12th grade influenced detrimentally by a professional librarian. They have obtained their influences from the individuals that surround them, even the students that are in foster care- and always, the library has been their very best location to find a resemblance of themself, if a professional librarian is part of the school equation.

Freedom to Read –

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Scratch and…Sniff Poetry?

So yes, last month contained School Library Month, week, day, along with National Library Week AND….opportunity to set up events for a whole year to follow.

Case in point, making connections to everything around us it VITALLY important. Girls Who Code was initiated this semester at Woodbridge High, with three attending ladies and yes, I was skeptical. Yet, the connections these ladies have made and established in setting up this club has been AWESOME. They decided on a theme of Habits, seeing habits be tied to programming and how it can establish a student in many areas, not just in programming. I thought pretty forward thinking. Additionally, these ladies are experimenting with the programming Code Scratch, and it is easiest to just let you see the basis of the last meeting we had this week – and what one of the three has learned from this experience:

GREAT job Olivia!   We watched Olivia’s Scratch video:

and this is what we discussed:

Olivia’s only experience with Scratch was in Science where she just as on the receiving end of seeing the programming.

I forget, but was going to ask –  Wendy, what has been your experience?

Some things Olivia learned re: Scratch –

You can’t duplicate some actions/commands

Moving – this sometimes has to be paused to allow a fluid motion of a image/character moving in a clip and cause that wait time.

 Regarding the theme of Habits we discussed about connecting to the Spring ’23 Girls Who Code, Olivia mentioned she saw determination and perseverance as two specific characteristics that align with that theme.

Olivia had the idea to show us opening boxes to use as PR and advertising for Girls Who Code, and we discussed the possibility of upcoming, before the end of the year, if we can try 5th period to get a lunch where we can meet in the library and work on one of the boxes/projects we have to see what we have and work with it!

Any questions, let me know, any help, let me know, but let’s meet Thursday to see if we can see some new Scratch clips!

Way to go Olivia!

It is very good to see how school libraries can serve as a hub for creativity in and out of the classroom, while still creating a new world within the same school. It is almost like breathing – not exactly sniffing- new life into how poetry can be viewed and conceived.

~ Speaking of connections and utilizing your senses, what happens when librarians seek connections outside of school? Thank to the Delaware Humanities, connecting with the Lewes book store Biblion, to the poet Shelley Puhak, connected to the History Book Festival in Lewes, we were lucky enough to connect students studying Poetry (in the month of April)

and bringing various perspectives of poetry, from back historical periods of Greek mythology and say, Salem Witchtrials, to present day and how poetry could be relevant. Thanks to the generosity of the Delaware Humanities/ Lewes History Book Festival, Biblion bookstore, and Shelley Puhak, students were able to dive into some of their favorite, unknown-to-be-favorite-yet-poetry, and figure out how poetry could take on more personal meaning.

It goes without saying, juggling schedules, interruptions and technology when it does not want to work, all poses undue stress on all parties and yet, it was a GREAT experience to show how you work and persevere through challenges, find alternative points of view of something that might seem isolated to a classroom, and open up scenarios that would not even be conceived of.

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The Walter P.J. Gilefski Media Center

In every aspect of my educational life the Library has played an important role.  In High School, I spent time in the library preparing – for projects, for classes, and trying to figure out my future plans.  In college, we spent endless hours researching for papers, looking through micro phish, working on the computers (I did not have my own), and studying for major tests.  As a teacher, I have spent hours researching projects for my students, as well as the history of different schools/ sports to prepare “the history of” parts of our athletics programs.  For me the library has always been a great resource and a place to find what I needed.” – WHS Faculty Member

I’m not a librarian but I have always liked to read. I grew up going to my neighborhood library and make sure all my grandchildren also understood how special the library is in the life of the community. So they all got their first library card as soon as they started to read. I support your effort!!!”– Delaware Community Member

On Wednesday, April 26th, the Woodbridge Library Media Center, the Woodbridge Library, or sometimes even referred to as the Raider’s Den, received an upgrade in title now known as the Walter P.J. Gilefski Media Center.

This sounds pretty sophisticated and formal, correct? Well, that is true but there is also much to reflect on based on this event, looking back on School Library Month in April.

Who was Walter P.J. Gilefski? I have to tell you, in the six years I have been to Woodbridge High, and from the details of April 26th’s ceremony, I wanted to connect what Mr. Gilefski believed in when it comes to all things library.

The above two quotes at the beginning of this post tie into the knowledge that often, Mr. Gilfeski would be hard to find as he often was working on a puzzle or lost in book that caught his attention, either at the Bridgeville Public Library or the Woodbridge High School Library. The coolest thing was he would just come in, peruse and sometimes just sit down and work on a puzzle, and sometimes never say a word. As a school librarian, there was never a better compliment than just knowing he would frequent our library and come in for no other reason but to just enjoy the area and take in what was there. We are lucky in that respect that board members visit and do take in the same facilities the school community takes in, it is AWESOME.

In hearing Mr. Gilefski’s son relay the fact that he was aware and hoped others were aware that librarian are more than manual book-shelvers, and despite “library” being the standard old-school term sometimes competing with title Media Specialist and Media Center, it was very comforting to know he was aware of the multitude of contributions a librarian, also knows as a Media Specialist, can offer anyone, ANYONE. The importance in remembering the place of such a center in any school, in any community, among any group of people is this – the value of offering choices to all patrons, whether they want to delve into a topic or avoid a topic, whether to seek out information or not to take in a certain topic, the freedom to decide, be involved, and freedom to have a choice is ever present.

In hearing Delaware Senator Davie Wilson, Superintendent Heath Chasanov, Assistant Superintendent Derek Prillaman, Board Member Steve MacCarron, and Principal Kelley Kirkland revisit the values Mr. Walter P.J. Gilefksi brought to so many people, it is a realization that all libraries have the potential and priority to value every patron that walks through their doors. It is a privilege to be able to exercise the diversity, values, and beliefs of so many people that make up a community. It is what defines a center, sets it apart from the general influx of everything that can be found on the internet, and is the one center that can personalize the beliefs, values, and points of view of hundreds of people in a single week when supported.

Additionally, it was comforting to realize the professionalism, and un-amateurism that school librarians bring to a school, to a student, to a faculty, to an administration, to a state. There is MUCH MORE to the profession than book shelving, there are at least 4-5 years of training involved with learning in how to represent a school population of diverse interests, values, and needs – creating Collection Development polices, creating guardrails to protect individuals of all ages, and to protect freedoms of all kinds. This is a much bigger sphere than people realize, but on the same caliber of a professional nurse, counselor, educator, any professional.

To realize this was to know Mr. Walter P.J. Gilefski. Isn’t is amazing to see how one person’s life can serve as a legacy for years to come, for ages and generation to come, and in one specific example through a library?

So you see, the dedication of the now Walter P.J. Gilefski Media Center is not something that belongs to Woodbridge High School alone, but to every single library, librarian, and individual recognizing the value that lies behind professionalism, freedom, diversity, respect, librarianship, and in our case, Delaware.

This is only one of many representations of what and how librarians have come to be something much larger than a physical space we learned in April, and I am excited to share more with you in the next few days- but in the meantime, supporting the very ideals that Mr. Walter P.J. Gilefksi believed in and lived, helps support the values that are contained within every single volume that every single patron can value differently.

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Reflections, Connections, and Library Perceptions.

April – A treasure trove of connections that tie to libraries, librarians, and ties to education itself. From poets, authors, titles, events, advocacy, and poetry, there was enough to carry in one month to the whole year of ways school libraries, and all libraries can be better advocated for on all levels.

Stay tuned as we reflect, connect, and bring libraries to the surface in may ways.

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Baker & Taylor – TitleTalk: Summer Fall 2023 Previews today.

April 26, 2023 –

Kudos and a HUGE thanks to DLA’s Catherine Wimberley, Jaclyn Hale,

and YSD’s Susan Elizabeth Cordle

and to the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center

and to Baker & Taylor’s Spring and Fall 2023 title previews for hosting the TitleTalk: Summer Fall 2023 Previews today.

Weather you realize it or not, Delaware has the ability to host HUGE events on their own- it takes more than the grueling amount of hours the planners and sponsors commit to and out in – it takes each of you as attendees – and is was AWESOME seeing Dawn Card, Susan Gooden, Stephanie Saggione, Mae-Lynn Smith and a lot of public librarians too – together – there was so much to take in.

Some could argue it was just a long day of titles being presented but this is the different, certified librarians and qualified public librarians can take the same info most people would just see as titles, and are able to instantly connect those titles to the needs of real students.

THAT is the difference between qualified and those that are not quite yet. It was an honor to be in the room with so many individuals willing to make sacrifices to excite their patrons about literacy.

Stay tuned and check at the bottom of this blog for a great video surprise of my notes you will see tomorrow (from today)

and yes – Carina Ho was amazing.

Small examples to get excited about today:

Rebellion 1777 – Laurie Halse Anderson

Jason Reynolds Mile Morales Suspended and Stunt Boy

Matthew McConaughey Just Because

and MANY MORE pages of some pretty exciting book that will just make you stop.

And Stare.

Stay tuned and tomorrow, I will flip through my notes in a video and show you, as if you were there today, what you need to be looking for.

Video of my notes from the Titletalk:

2023 Titletalk!

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We have to Rescue Ourselves.

Stay tuned, this amazing insight into this film – coming! It was AWESOME seeing Senator Buckson, Peggy Geisler, Lisette Cabrera Gallozo, Margie Cyr, Zjhodell Hudson, as well as Maureen Whalen as panel members for this INITIAL, FIRST SHOWING of this insightful film. How can I tell you the amazing depth of this film without giving it away before the showing days you see below are done?

Let me show you a few amazing facts from this film:

The fact that many low literacy to no literary individuals are considered poets and the fact is, many individuals that are poets never knew how to write complete sentence and this showed how they learned how to navigate without that knowledge.

How do we acknowledge as a country that a million and a half individuals are illiterate in our country?

How in Delaware 120 million is spent on low income subsidies and yet we are still graduating so many individuals that cannot read or write?

Realizing the example given, that as a chair relies on the four leg as a foundation, we too are seeing a diminishing foundation of losing literate individuals, as we lose certified librarians, researched methods to address literacy and finding paths to address this issue head on instead of with program ideas.

Shocking/Revolutionary/speechless to meet a millionaire, a teacher, a doctor in their professions while they DID NOT KNOW HOW TO READ ANYTHING. Read that again, and yes, avoiding emails, letters, contracts AND teaching OTHERS the very substance of what they were missing – this was – there are no words to detail this until you see this film – and even after, you are just stunned.

It is scary that the most impoverished group we have are children. It is even more shocking to see that students that never learned to read were 100% on being able to mimic teachers to get to the point of being able to graduate with that method.

The acknowledgement of so many individuals and cross sections of educational employees working in silos apart from each other says much about what could have been achieved had this not been the cae through the years.

The fact I will come back to again is meeting a teacher that taught for 17, SEVENTEEN years and that could not read at all – you have to let that sink it to be able to redefine who you are thinking of when we say the word illiterate, and how this effects EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF Society as a result in someway. But to realize this, you need to see the desperation of survival that students, not turned adults, utilize to survive without the skills of reading and comprehension that never were properly taught to be able to learn.

What kept coming back to me during this film was the fact that Delaware ranks 42 out of 51 states (counting D.C.) in librarianship and the lack of knowledge of how many certified librarians and we have lost. AND the further thought that certified librarians is only one large cog in a whole series of critical areas not being the right tools students are receiving.

It was so ironic to see footage of Barbara Bush’s initial adult literacy movements. I was a product of the Barbara Bush initiative to encourage librarians in the school to be able to take- for 7 years, as many credits for $1000.00 per semester towards the degree of being a certified librarian. I took advantage of this and that is where my eyes became opened to the lack of support for school librarians in schools. When I saw Barbara Bush on this video advocated for the DOZEN of literacy programs, now still in place thanks to Laura Bush, I remembered how lucky I was to have someone encourage me to delve into literacy more.

Now we have a chance to help others in many other ways by bringing the realities of lack, is so many areas, to the surface.

From examining balanced literacy, to phonics as what was thought as the saving technique, to the reading wars, to Whole language, it was difficult to indeed say we are the “Land of the Free” when there is no support for individuals that can work their way through school and through graduation, being passed from grade to grade, without having a clue how to read one sentence at all. We are not truly free if so many individuals are not afforded the care, services, skills from professionals that allow themselves to be free.

If you are stagnant, you are not doing anything- was such a simply but powerful quote stated by an inmate, who saw how reading and understand reading pulled him out of quicksand.

Seeing the laborious ways individuals took to be able to get the proper words used in a sentence and mean what they intended, by guessing on typing words to see what the meaning in context is when they do this in Google. In Google. This method takes the person did not acquire literacy skills almost an hour longer to produce a sentence, that makes sense, and meets the need of the individual themself.

The lengths individuals share with you to not be detected by others, that they cannot read- is exhausting day after day even to is as the viewer.

The sentiment that no one is going to save us so we have to be the ones that save ourselves has never been more true as you encounter so many prominent people that never truly learned to read and write in the first 40 years of their lives. FORTY YEARS!

Seeing how a lack of literacy, a lack of trained librarians, a lack of awareness of all the moving parts needed to support all students in school, the fact that much illiteracy is evaded even all through college, and still so many graduate – passed through grade after grade, and all the while the lack of reading and literacy is present.

This film is so personal and so direct, you will NOT even slightly want to consider missing on the screenings you see above. Once May 15th hits and all have had a chance to see this film, I will deep dive into some of the most amazing take-away from this film is too vast to try and cover in one blog post. So, let’s give you a chance to see this in the next few weeks and then we will return to return to this topic.

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What do School Librarian Patrons Think of Their Library?

We asked them – and well we think that the opinions speak for themselves- we discovered advocacy is experiencing what you learn and learning to support and celebrate the places we learn!

Ms Conway – I think the library is a great resource for students and staff in school. The library provides students a place to research, study, and work. The books that are in the library are often books that students wouldn’t haven’t an opportunity to read or use for school. Not only can the students read/use the books in the school library they can request books from any library which will be delivered to the location of the student. The library creates a place for people to learn from the resources within it.



I think that school libraries are important since it is the easiest way to study. Some towns, especially smaller ones may only have 1 town library, maybe not even that. So the school library is important for kids to have a library in school so they can do their best in life and for the world.

Maya- i like going to the library because it’s quiet,I come there by choice because i have really bad anxiety being around people and being in the library is calming

And chill, Mr brake and Mrs Short are really nice and can talk to about anything

It’s nothing like before its calming and fun

You don’t have to go there to read you can research or hang out

Libraries changed in a good way. i know it’s helped me alot and helped  aton of other teens and adults


Garrett, Dylan, Malik- we believe the library should be a part of the school because the library stores a part of our world history. The peace and quiet from outside the classroom allows students to work at a steady place with a clear mind. The many genres that you may find in the library to read is what encourages students to learn something new or to find inspiration. The comfy atmosphere allows students to feel calm and at home allowing for a safe environment for students to express themselves.

Everyday the amount of students that come in and out of the library is astonishing. Many students find it easier to meet new people with common interests. When students need a project done the first place they go to is the library for research on the topic. If the library doesn’t have a book they are looking for you can always request for that book to be delivered or alternatively you may use the many computers to help you research. There are plenty of books that can encourage us to go out and explore the beautiful world we live in. Overall the library  is a wonderful place for students to express themselves freely, meet new people, and to find a good book to read. Also we like turtles.



School libraries are here to be an educational resource.  The classrooms use a lot of technology but the books and resources are still a huge part of the educational experience.  In our school library – the students come for books, for a quiet area to study, an area to quietly socialize, and an area to find historical data to back up their papers/ projects/ etc….   In a world where technology can be used at your fingertips, we still need students to understand other methods of research. I like turtles


·         Ian- Libraries are important because they allow our students to develop a sense of the past, present, and configure a vision of the future. Having a library also helps the students by allowing them to have a safe quiet place to do work.

·         Ava – School libraries are a way to help students build bonds with teachers, admin, and students that they otherwise wouldn’t see on a daily basis. In addition it provides easy access to all sorts of information.

·         Irene – School libraries are multi-purpose places that can be a quiet place to finish work, or a place where meetings can happen. They are also places where a student can quickly browse a large quantity of quality information. They are also a place to find books to read by authors that they may already know. If there is a book that I hear of, the school library is the first place that I look, and often it has it. If the school library didn’t have it, it is possible that I would never have access to the book otherwise.


·         Genny-School Library for me it’s important because it can help me do research. If I need something for my classes, it can help. Even my librarian can help me looking for answers I need, or something I need to find in a book.

·         Amani – for me school libraries are really important for me because it’s a quiet place to study and get work done in a comfortable environment and has the sources around that are needed

·         Cassie- School Library’s for me are a very comfortable and cozy environment, the bean bags and cushions make me feel cozy while doing my work as if I’m at home.

·         Johnathon- For me personally, I’ve been in my school library every day of every year of my high school career, and I’ve never even checked out a book. While the library is a great way to get resources, it provides a comfortable environment for students outside of the classroom setting to socialize, get resources as needed, and it gives students much needed extra time to complete things they need to

·         Alison- The library provides students with many resources. I come to the library for information, technological inquiries, to study, etc.

·         Elijah – The library has books on philosophy and topics outside of our normal curriculum, which expands our base of knowledge further. There are also qualities found in books that are not found through reading on a computer; they are physical, they have texture and quality to them. Reading a book is a conversation between the writer and the reader, and many of our students need to improve their conversation skills with the past.


·         Bella- The library provides great resources for classroom assignments, help studying for standardized testing such as the SATS, and help when applying for scholarships and jobs. The library also provides access to technology such as computers, ipads, printers, and wifi for students who wouldn’t normally have this access at home. The library also allows students to take the time to follow through with their own personal interests by having tons of books and internet access to thousands of topics.



The library has always been a safe place for me. Mr. Brake has made the library a good place for everyone. We sometimes go there to chill when we need a break or need to do make -up work. We do a lot of fun activities like gingerbread decoration, tree decoration, and we have conferences with book authors and inspiring people. All those activities are just some we did this school year. The library is also very flexible with after school torturing, class activities like a Socratic seminar, and club meetings. I have always been able to depend on the library and Mr. Brake when I am behind on school work or just need a place to relax after getting very emotional. The library is honestly the best and my favorite place in the school for me and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have that safe place.



Our school library is an essential piece to our school, our library is always open to varieties of activities. We hold contests, after school meetings, individual studying, college meets, class meetings, extra help, etc. in our library. The library is overlooked when it comes to the engagement of students and school, they are more than books stacked on a shelf. Our library is an open environment to students where they can come and clear their minds after a long day, they can also come in and eat lunch, it also provides us with technical service. When a laptop doesn’t work the first place all teachers send the students is the library. We are given a borrower or replacement, if it wasn’t for the library we would’ve had a big wait back. Many of the programs I have joined in the recent years are because I learned about them through our school librarian (Mr. Brake). I can happily say that our school library has engaged me more into my school activities, by providing me with the proper information and our amazing librarian guide. Many other students could also convey their gratitude towards the library.



Our school library is a safe and comfortable place for me and it has many books to learn about. It also has many activities to participate in within the library. The library really gives people the time and peace that they really need in life and an open environment for people to feel like they are welcomed. Whenever I Needed help I would always go to Mr. Brake because I knew that he would always give me what I asked for. A lot of other students didn’t even know what they could do without the library and they always depended on our library because Mr. Brake. Whenever anybody needs help with something that involves technology we would go to Mr. Brake because he is very helpful and knows what he is doing most of the time. When I started coming to the library 2 years ago, I knew that I was going to be in here every time that I needed to get my mind right because it is a very calming place where nobody could distract you. I get more work done in the library than I do when I’m anywhere else because I get distracted too fast. I would recommend going to the library whenever you get a chance too because it is a very relaxing place to be at.



My school library is a place for me to relax, especially amidst a tough school day. I’m able to quietly complete my work and catch up with anything I may have missed without distractions. This is important for me because I prefer to have all my work done while in school, that way I’m not bothered with homework at home. Not only does the library provide a space to get work done, but also to just read. Whilst in the library, I have the motivation to read because I have the opportunity, but otherwise it’s a little difficult to get myself to sit down and read a book. Having a library is important for me because it’s so useful in a variety  of ways, and I couldn’t imagine not being able to have one in my school.




My school library is a place for me to relax , and get any school work done because with my job after school I don’t really get much time to get work done so when I am in the library it is nice and quiet and I am able to focus and get work done. Also at the end of the day is a great time to come to the library and have a relaxing time to end off my day at school. Having a library is important for me because it’s so useful in my day to day life so that I’m not overwhelmed with school work.  



My school Library is a very important place to me,  The library is a very good mental health space where if i am having a rough day, my time is the Library Is just that much more important because i am able to have time to myself, and to be able to reflect on my day and things i can do better; whether that is school work i need to be working on, studying, my behavior, etc. The Library helps many of us students be able to have a space that is very peaceful and quiet, and is the place many of us enjoy being in. Having a Library is very important to me and other students because it allows for us to get done what we need to get done, have a place we can gain help at, and just having a place where we are able to make our own decisions on what we get to do for that day. It gives us a feeling of control in our education, we can control the work we do, what we study, if we are going to do research or write an essay for a class, the Library is very valuable to our education.



I enjoy having a school library because it allows me to relax.  I am in two college courses and having the library means that when I am overloaded with work, I can come in here and chill, do my work, and enjoy my time.  I like to sit here because it is quiet and I am able to focus better, a lot of students come and do the same thing that I do in the library, I believe that is a very good place to spend my time.



I quite like my school’s library. It is a place where I can catch up on my work, consult with my instructors or simply study. Most classrooms are noisy, and a place where I find that it is hard to concentrate at times. It is also a place of information, one that I can go to for searching whatever it is that I may need at the time. The school library has provided me with books that I would have otherwise needed to search for at other libraries (if they even had the book) as well as useful information about a contest I recently participated in, the Youth Oratorical Forum about one’s digital footprint. Besides the educational value of the school library, over the years, it has also provided me with the opportunity to read many books that I still enjoy today, such as all thirteen books of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket.

All in all, I find the school library a useful, relaxing place.



My school library is a valuable location to me. I enjoy the calm environment since it is a wonderful place to be able to study and decompress from long days. I participate in the Academic Challenge Program for both English and math, so I have an above average amount of homework a typical high schooler has to complete. Having access to the library allows me to get this work done during the school day instead of trying to find time at home. I have a very busy lifestyle so it is very hard to find time at home and on the weekends to complete my work. The library gives me not only a quiet environment, but the time of the week to be able to sit down and complete my work. I have a friend who also participates in Academic Challenge and she tells me all the time that she wouldn’t know what to do if not for the library giving her a place to complete her work. Over the years, my school libraries have given me access to books and research I could have never found or afforded without the libraries’ volunteer help. The environment is a perfect location to study and offers a variety of opportunities I could have not had had it not been for the library.



For me the school library is a place where one can get away from the noise in the outside world. There is no noise and no distractions, which helps you get your tasks done easily. It gives a chance to those who don’t have a nice and quiet place where they can think and attempt to be productive. The library was and is an important part of my life. Middle school me would walk in and grab a few books like the Harry Potter series, or the Percy Jackson series and more. The library is an escape from reality and vital to those who do not have the equipment that this place does. Those without a computer can come in and look up whatever they need and file it for their necessities, whether they are legal documents or personal things. Those same people could then print it out if they do not have a printer at home. This makes it more fair to everyone. These places have history inside of them from books or articles and can help us learn from it.


To me the library is a useful area to use with the free time given. I like to do all my work here as it’s a calm area to work in. Another thing would be I enjoy the amount of books that are available to read as there is a wide diversity of them. Another thing would be the time I get to socialize with other students as I don’t have to worry about doing work.


Angela – As someone who visits libraries frequently, they bring a lot of importance to my life and to others. While a library can be just about books, it can also help people with school and for personal use like jobs. Libraries are filled with many books with information about anything, but not only that, they can provide necessities that many people may not have access to such as computers, printers, etc. I enjoy the calm environment and how much it has helped me during difficult school years and it can also bring much help to others.

~Nevaeh- I currently use my school’s library everyday. I tend to get way more of my work done while i am in the library. My librarian is always a great person to come to when I need something and he is always willing to help. When students may need extra time on a project or homework, the library is always available to anyone which is a great resource. The school would not be the same if we did not have our library, and most importantly our librarian.


Roselyn – I believe that it’s important to have library time during school hours due to the fact that students in school get more time to work on things that are unfinished and they get to learn more things i believe it’s important because as a student myself i come in everyday to work on homework or tests to bump up my grade in order to finish high school on time this also helps me and other students have a mental break if needed the library also gives me access to information i would need to learn before taking a test or doing homework.


Travis- To me the school library is a place for me to relax and do school work without the distraction of a loud class allowing me to perform at my best. The library also allows me to have access to and read a plethora of different books which I thoroughly enjoy.


Avery- To me, the school library is a place where I can relax and get caught up on unfinished school work everyday. It is a place where I can focus in the quiet without distractions. It is the one period of the day where I can check things off my to-do list and communicate with peers consistently. The school would not be the same without a library and librarian for students.


Promyse- To me the library is a calm area where i can enjoy myself and not be overwhelmed. Coming to the library allows me to get my work done without being interrupted by others around me.I enjoy the time i have in the library because it allows me to get things done that i couldn’t do in other classes , while being in the library this gives you time to catch up with your friends and classmates.

Kyrsis- I love all the resources in the library. They are an essential part of schools because they have many things that you can’t find online.Library give students time to catch up on their work and have a quiet spot everyday. This library has many available resources you can learn from.It also helps socialize with your friends. It’s good to have a library in school because it has books with good information you need and more. Plus it does not involve the computer and you can get a break from it.


Laney- The library is a quiet place where I can do work for other classes. It helps reduce stress from other classes’ work loads, and allows a calming environment.

Dilly~ The library for me is a place where I can calm down and lessen the pressure and stress from the school day. It’s quiet and calming there. I also use the library as a place to get work caught up for other classes which is always helpful.


Emma- Personally the library is the one place I get to relax and not feel pressure in the school. I sit in the nice quiet room and work on my homework and essays for my del tech class and scholarships. The library is very important and a useful place that I appreciate very much.


Louie- The library has been useful for school research especially during ELA, the access of books in the library is easier to use than having to go down to a public library. The ability to just hang out in the library while doing school work is very relaxing.


Zyaire- The library is a place where i can cool off and get work done silently, it’s also a place where i don’t have to worry about anything and can just mind my business


David – The library is a place for all types of students. From people trying to catch up on work from another class to students that are studying for the next exam. During these moments of student life there is a place where people go to concentrate and get things done. The library in school is beneficial because its close and easy to access. Which means students in the library are more likely to cross with each other and interact about the same problems. Causing too make stronger bonds.


Romualdo 😉  –   I like library !!!!

Daria- I appreciate the accessibility of the resources in the library and the free time I have in it. Having time in between classes to catch up on work or talk to my friends is the highlight of my day. The school library allows me to be prepared at a moment’s notice and is a saving grace for me as an AP student.

Jameson- The library is an essential part of many students’ days. It provides resources unlike any other department in the school and enables students to do their homework in independent study. Among other things, the library hosts events such as college visits that help to encourage students.


Kailyin – Libraries are peaceful place to enjoy a nice book or get extra work done for your classes in a quiet environment. It also holds a large selection of books that are free of charge to borrow which i appreciate and use every day. Without the library I wouldn’t have anywhere to sit down and get extra work done, I’d be forced in the lunchroom which is loud and noisy. Libraries should be in every school


Christian- The library is a great place to just sit down unwind and enjoy a good book right in school without the hassle of going to a public library and it opens up many opportunities to meet people who enjoy reading just as much as you do or maybe just enjoy the same type of stories as you, overall the library is a great place that is full of peace, quiet, and adventure the second you open up a book.


Rylan – it can help people get information about topics they do not know about.

Henry- The library is a good place to communicate with other students and help people with some of the work, it could also be a good place to study with other resources and projects you could do at the moment, i can be a good thing to help you get more time to finsh work that is unfinished to help you get better at school.


Sydne – I love the library, it’s a comfortable space where I can breathe and separate myself from teh classroom setting. Having the library here is great and resourceful, I love getting books and just having a constructed space where I have space and time to work on myself and classwork. The people I met and the things I learn from just being in this environment I think improves my life and it can improve other students’ lives.


Aislinn- I use the library daily, it is a safe place for students to get work done, study, read amazing books and more. When I come into the library, I am greeted well and given the place to work in a quiet environment to get my Ap work or Med tech class work done in.


Alyssa – The library is an environment that I personally rely on and appreciate.The removal of the library would result in the destruction of my creative capabilities and a space that I depend on for extra time to study and work on things for my classes.


Sam- The library is a very nice place to hold meetings for non sports related clubs and activities. It is also a great place to study, as there are hundreds of books to read.


Raleigh- The library is a nice place to finish work and do work, i feel like when I need to focus i can come down to here to, it is a nice place to find resources and ways of settling down when the day is hard.~


Marlisha- I really had a great experience from the library, I had been put out of my comfort zone and signed to many contests and signed many scholarships mr.Brake helps me with. The books in this library are really nice to read and fill up my time when I am home. I really do appreciate the library and the things it provided for me in the past 2 years and would like to continue having this support for the rest of my high school experience, and I feel like other students would like to have this experience as well.


Sahiara- Every since I was a little kid the library has been a very therapeutic place for me. Libraries are very nostalgic in my lifetime experience and I really feel like other people should be able to experience that feeling as well. Libraries can be quiet and a place for you to have a free mind. Taking away libraries would cause future students to lack a room of resources and knowledge.


Wendy –  The library has many books that you learn from, I especially like to enjoy different books of different topics. I come to the library very often and It’s been a very good experience. I love being able to be in the library and enjoy many activities that it hosts to further education. The library is a safe and quiet place for many people, not just for hanging out, or finding comfort, or just finding more knowledge to feed their brains. It’s an enjoyable feeling that you are able to experience being surrounded by many books and polite people.


Jeremiah- The library is not only the place for educational activities but a place to hang out for how quiet it is.

Ja’mez ~ The library is a place where students can come to catch up on some work and eat lunch. Maybe a chill down for some of the students also .

Tavon ~ The library is a place where students can think and clear their heads if they’re going through something. The library is also a place where people get their extra work done or they make up work so they can be passing their classes because sometimes people don’t understand the work at that time or they just didn’t think they had enough time to get their work done. The library can also just be a chill spot for them to calm down.

Alanis ~The library is a place that’s very peaceful. I love being here. If I could I would stay here for days and just read or do my homework. Without this place I don’t know where I could possibly relax in this school. If I ever were to need some place quiet and peaceful I wouldn’t go to a classroom where there isn’t even anywhere comfortable to sit, I would go to the library. The library is like a safe place for quiet and hardworking people, if anyone takes that away where would all the hard working students and people who just want some peace and quiet to read go. I personally love the libraries in the school. If I could do all my work in this place I would but I still come here to read and to have some peace of mind.


William – the library is a good place to eat lunch in peace and quiet and to study with all homework and great to work in a small quiet pair.


Cindy – The library is a great resource. Some people do not like to read books via the internet. They would much rather have a hard copy. Also, students can research the history of the school by looking at the yearbooks that are stored in the library. Our library has most of the yearbooks since Woodbridge became a school district. Also, the library provides a quiet place for students to read, do research, etc. If students cannot find something or need help conducting research, the librarian is there to help them.


Ijanae- The library is a good place to come to have a quite, claim time to have time to catch up on any homework or anything they need to do. Also it is good because you can find good books to read while enjoying the quietness of the library.


Robyn-For many students, the library is an indispensable component of their day. It gives students access to tools not found in any other school division and allows them to complete their homework independently. The library organizes activities like college visits among other things to inspire pupils.


Kendall- School libraries have many resources that students need and cannot get anywhere else. They also provide access to computers and various sources of information for their classes and a space for completing independent work outside of the classroom.


Laciia – Libraries are a very important part of any school . We use this library for credit recovery and independent study. So I’m sure students in credit recovery really appreciate this library because it gives them a quiet spot everyday to catch up with their work. As for students in independent study like myself, it gives me a chance to catch on work, to get started on work, and even just clear my head after doing all that work. Overall this library is a significant help to all the students in this school regardless of why they happen to be in here.


Ryan- The library is a place to take your mind to places your eyes might never be able to see. It is a place to plant a seed of curiosity through books, exploration, creation, and calm. In an educational world where the setting behind the doors of a library rarely provides a safe place, the library can act as a safe place for students to be themselves. Libraries can also be a place to spark a future in a Makerspace or just a place to allow me the calm to write my thoughts down on a page.


Barb-  I would go broke if I had to purchase all the books I read! Also, librarians are like “Google” in person – if I am ever in doubt, I know I can reach out to a librarian and if they don’t know it, they can easily find out! Teachers use libraries and librarians to help with resources, students use them for research, and both use it as a place for quiet and work.


Hannah – The library is a place to catch up on school work, to get information, to have a break in between stressful classes. I see my peers, and catch up on forgotten homework. To me the school library is a life-saver, a secondary classroom, a second chance, a pause button, a way to expand my mind and relax my energy.


Vanessa – the library is a great space to be in for me because i get to finish my class work or anything that i missed throughout the day during school hours with no distractions and also it is a great place to be in if i am interested in getting some books or anything that could help me with the work that i am doing. I also like being in the library because it is my safe space and I love it here.

Joseph- The library is a great place to catch up on homework, as well as learn about different topics, ranging from history to science. It also is a good place to hang out with friends and find like-minded people to help with studying. It provides a temporary relief in students’ busy, stressful days.

Adam- I personally believe that libraries are an amazing place to self reflect and relax. Whenever I enter the library I find a wave of relaxation being placed upon myself and I earn the ability to concentrate. Whether you’re trying to relax, learn something new, or even play board games for a bit with friends; libraries are a great place to do all sorts of things but most importantly to enjoy yourself.



Samantha- I believe that libraries are an important factor for students. This is because it is a safe  place to study our materials, ask questions to help us find information for things that we may be unknown or unconcerned about. As well as having the ability to finish any work needed, so I can do the remainder of the day doing other activities.


Hallie- Libraries are essential to student life, as they serve as a safe place to study and question. Our library allows us to connect with many forms of knowledge as well as a librarian with connections such as Poetry Out Loud, and the presentation at Columbia University. Libraries are comfortable places, where the staff strives to make sure you have everything you need such as food, knowledge, and other essentials.


Maria- The library is important for students because they help kids be proactive and help kids work, and provide a comfortable learning space. It allows students and teachers to have one-on-one interaction and open conversation. It also allows study groups to find a place to meet up and study complex material, as well as a great mix of friends, entertainment, and reading. Libraries provide access to resources and materials that might not be available or affordable, allowing students to further their learning, understanding, and research.


Lauren- In my opinion, libraries in schools are important. They provide kids like me to be able to expand their knowledge, vocabulary, and work ethic without having to ask their parents to take them somewhere. The library is also known as a safe haven for a lot of kids, which I would say is very important in a time where everything around them is very hectic and unpredictable. So yeah, libraries are cool to have and definitely should not be taken away from impressionable young people who may receive actual knowledge without the use of the internet.


Kylee f.- I like being In the library in the afternoon, and in the mornings because it is a quiet, big space where I can be productive and catch up on work without being around so many people at once. Taking this place away from people in my school would have a massive negative effect, as many Just like me would lose a study space, productivity in most if not all students, and loss of a safe place in the school for all to be. I love the library as a place to relax with my friends, and find more opportunities for my art career, not only for me, but also for my art friends


Jailyn P.- The library is a safe place for me. I come to the library to escape all that is going around in the school and get some peace and quiet in order to complete my work. I also eat my lunch in the library, because with my social anxiety I know the library is always quiet and not full of many people at one time. The library allows me to be productive with my time and wind down after a long day/class. Without the library we would lose a place where many kids are able to come and get their work done or just to get away from all the jam packed, loud classrooms and hallways. The library is always overlooked, but in reality is a major help to some.


Olivia M- Libraries give me a place to relax and sit down. I can do my work in peace if needed, hang out with friends before classes start so I can see them, and read books that interest me or help me in my studies. While lots of people think libraries are boring and quiet and just for books they couldn’t be more wrong. Libraries are fun and lots of cool things can happen! I’ve met many people who I can now talk to just because of libraries alone. Wonderful things happen at libraries people just need to appreciate and possibly come more and they can see just how much libraries give to the community and help individuals.

Olivia A – The library is a safe place. Acting as an almost euphoric escape from reality, one can have a comforting place to return when the busyness and bustle of the day catches up with one. The library is also a resource rich sanctuary, in which one can open a book or power on a computer without compensation to discover the true answer they are in search for.


Yasmin – The library is important to our mental well being as well as educational well being. The library is full of many resources such as computers, novels, local news, and more. Even for my own class it is very useful to be able to come to the library to check out a book instead of having to buy one or drive to another library as many students may not have the access to travel to other libraries. The library also provides a safe space to wind down, having my independent period in the library helps to prevent burnout and have more energy to be proficient in my other classes for the rest of the day. Even at the library I have a chance to catch up on work that I don’t have time to do at home due to extracurriculars, sports, work, etc.


Alvaro- The library is important because I can relax and do my homework or assignments in peace and have extra time in my house for other activities.

Valente – Schools should have a bookstore because it is a place where students can meet and learn more about culture and information and learn about different perspectives and also because it allows members of the school community to forge critical thinking and effectively use information in any format. and means of communication.


Mrs. Fisher- Our library is a vital part of our school community because it not only provides the obvious support that most offer, but also provides so much more. It is a safe haven for some of our strugglers, provides academic intervention and tutoring, and a place to spend time with others beyond the classroom setting. I have seen the value of libraries change and instead of quelling them they need to be expanded and embraced. In a society that is losing its connection, the library is doing the opposite and reinvigorating that connection.

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