Elizabeth Roberts wears her pink “I just want you to read a book” t-shirt with pride. This Teacher-Librarian and K-5 Information Literacy Curriculum Developer is passionate about getting books into the hands of kids who need them during the ongoing pandemic. Roberts and Lauren Jensen, the Library Media Specialist at Wilburton Elementary, have been working on making books available for students to check out and pick up outside the school. The program has launched with a small group of students with plans to expand to more Wilburton students. Roberts and Jensen are relying on the same system students use to place holds on library books prior to the pandemic. The books are set aside for those students to pick up outside Wilburton at scheduled times.
Roberts can barely contain her enthusiasm for this idea becoming a reality. “I am so excited that it’s going,” she said with a smile. Not unlike other services for students, making library books available is different right now. “It’s a whole new way of doing things,” says Roberts. Students are accustomed to visiting the library and choosing books by seeing the covers, the titles and by sampling some of the content before making selections and checking out the books. Relying on an online catalog is a new experience for many students. Roberts looks forward to having the opportunity to curate books for students and receive more feedback from both teachers and parents on books for their students.
Plans for expanding library book circulation are in the works at Wilburton. Several other schools in the district are currently or are planning to arrange for library book checkout while buildings are closed.