Librarians create unique opportunities during pandemic


courtesy of librarian LeRay Havard

Sophomore Audrey Hardgrave picks up her library books curbside at the beginning of the school year.

Jacob Simon, Writer

This year, librarians Debra Goodrich and LeRay Havard created innovative ways  to make reading a safe and fun experience for all.

In January, they promoted the idea of Buddy Read. Students are encouraged to participate in reading with a friend. The goal is to inspire students to read and talk about what they are reading.

“I think that reading and talking about what you read has many benefits,” Havard said. “When you read with someone else, it can motivate you to keep going. It is helpful to increase comprehension, and it can make the experience more enjoyable.”

Because the pandemic created isolation among students, this was a way to bring them back together and make reading more social.

“With Buddy Read I was hoping to bring students together to enjoy reading,” Harvard said.

Buddy Reading can be done at any time and is flexible. You can read on your own and then meet later to discuss the book. It can also act as a small book club if readers talk after each chapter. It is up to the students to decide the format for Buddy Reading.

“It’s important for students to read, because it grows them intellectually and emotionally. Being able to make this a shared experience can be motivating, especially to high school students,” Harvard said.

Reading with a buddy has benefits as well, such as increased comprehension and motivation. 

“Any opportunity I have to get books in the hands of students gives me an opportunity to expose students to the benefits of reading,” Harvard said. “I hope to inspire them to use reading as a way to enhance themselves, learn about others and become leaders.”

In February, the library promoted  Speed Dating (with a book). Just like regular speed dating, students spent a few minutes learning about a book before they moved on to the next book.   

“Each book had a QR code that students could scan and listen to a brief overview of the book,” Harvard said. “This allowed us to make this a hands free and socially distant library promotion.”

Virtual students were also able to participate with their advisory classes through a link so they could speed date from home. 

Junior DaVion Jones’ advisory class participated in Speed Dating (with a book).

“The trip to the Library was great.” Jones said. “I learned a lot from the librarians, and they showed us new books. I had fun doing it.” 

Virtual students could also check out a book online and pick it up curbside at designated times. 

These promotions have improved the library experience so much in just a year, and the librarians plan to keep many of them in place next year.

“This year we offered opportunities to get students, classes and teachers in the SHS library,” Goodrich said. “In addition to Book Buddies, we offered personal book shopping for students and teachers based on a simple questionnaire. We plan to continue offering promotions next year as all SHS Mustangs return to campus.”