Hello! My name is Claire, and I am the new Librarian at St. Joseph’s Indian School. I am fortunate that I get to work with two of my favorite things every day—the kids at St. Joseph’s and books. We are in the process of updating the library to an automated catalog system, so I spent the summer barcoding, weeding and organizing the collection. I also got to open the boxes of book donations, which was just like Christmas.
“Whoopee! Dragons! Pirates! Polar bears! Newberry Medalists! Sherman Alexie! The kids are just going to love this!!”
I was excited and nervous for the first week of school. Although I worked in a library as a college student, this was my first gig as a school librarian, actually teaching library skills. Also, the previous librarian, a veteran of 39 years, left some really big shoes to fill. She had a great way with the kids, and a knack for helping them to find just the right book. The kids were not sure what to make of me, with my strange new rules and quirks. I gave out a pre-test to assess where their skill levels were, prompting cries of distress. “Library reeks!!”
Connecting the kids with books was definitely the fun part. While battered copies of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Goosebumps” flew off the shelves, other interests took some sleuthing. Scary stories were a popular request—everything from ghost stories to movie monsters to tales of Bigfoot.
Many kids asked for books about basketball—basketball teams, basketball players and stories about kids who play basketball. I loved it when kids asked for books about history and we got to talk about historical fiction versus non-fiction and the different time periods and populations. Animal books were another common request. I was very happy to show one young man a brand new encyclopedia of animals we had just received as a donation. It was an impressive volume with a bright picture of a Mandrill on the cover. His eyes lit up and he paged through the color pages with obvious delight.
Another teen had been waiting all summer for the next book in the “Warrior” series. (A shout out to the generous donors who replaced several missing copies from this series—you are lifesavers!) And finally, I was able to help Mr. Library Reeks discover the “I Survived” series. He gleefully capered about, barely able to decide which two books to take now and which to save for next week.
I grew up in a home filled with books. Unfortunately, many of the kids at St. Joseph’s don’t have a lot of books in their homes and don’t have access to a library over the summer. The school library is their best chance for getting good reading material. My hope is to share some favorite books with them and to guide them in finding favorites of their own. Having an automated system will make it even faster and easier to find just the right book. In the meantime, we’ll work on our library detective skills to discover what treasures lie in store. I am looking forward to it!
I would like to thank our donors for providing good things to read for both our library and our bookmobile . You make such a big difference! Wopila tanka – many thanks!