Gregory Has a Great Library


Samantha Timanus, Journalist

As you walk into the library, you are greeted by a seal balancing a ball on its nose, a bear in a tutu, and a wall of computers. Colorful books line the shelves and children are quietly reading, using the computers, or working in small groups with a teacher. It seems that every week there is a new decoration, arrangement, or set of books in the library. Our library system at Gregory BK-12 is doing a great job.

The library is staffed by two teachers, Mrs. Holly Whitney and Mrs. Jennifer Voight, who both teach six to eight 30-minute classes a day, as well as help students find new books to read and enjoy. They keep track of over 3,000 with an internet program that the students understand how to use.

The librarian, Mrs. Whitney, has worked in the library for five years, previously aiding Special Education for eighteen years. She teaches RTI classes, which challenge students to approach literature in new ways. She also reads to the students and incorporates new technologies into her classes. Currently, the kids are going through a STEM program that teaches them the basics of computer coding with beloved characters such as the Hungry Hungry Catapillar. This inspires kids to continue to pursue scientific interests throughout the rest of the schooling and into their future careers.

 Mrs. Whitney also prepared students for Reading Olympics, which is an annual contest in which the top readers from different local schools all read ten books, then battle to see who can recall the most information. This year, 21 kids participated. The third grade team received second place and the second grade team placed first.  

Mrs. Voigt also works in the library, not as a librarian but as the title one reading teacher. She collects data about the students’ reading fluency and assists their teachers to create individualized programs and learning speeds for each child. She collects this data by meeting with small groups or individual students and working on their reading fluency, comprehension, and administering AR and STAR tests to them. Mrs. Voigt is assistant varsity track coach as well as the coach of the small but successful cross-country team, and from my personal experience, does a great job.

A major reason why the library has such an engaging environment is the decorations Mrs. Whitney puts up. Every nine weeks, she redecorates the library to some fun and seasonal theme. The current theme is “Circus,” with a red and white striped tent, wagons with stuffed tigers, and toy lions jumping through hoops that dangle from the ceiling. Often, the decorations incorporate artwork created by the students. Mrs. Whitney does not have time to put up the decorations during working hours, usually staying after school for about a week.

At the time of this interview, the library was also running the Scholastic Book Fair. The books were selling very quickly as there was a BOGO (buy one get one free) sale. Mrs. Whitney reads segments of some books to her students, which sparks their interests in the books and makes them want to come purchase them. I remember being very excited to go to the Book Fair as a kid, and it’s great to see that kids today are still happy to buy books.

The library staff is always trying to improve the library. They do creative fundraisers and are able to purchase about two hundred new books every year. They are currently working to improve the nonfiction section of the library and barcode all of the books for a new check-out software system. They would also like to rearrange some areas of the library to have room for more books and new activities. Since the time of this interview to today, the library staff has already rearranged some areas.

It’s easy to see that the students and parents of the Gregory Elementary are very lucky to have such a dedicated staff that work so hard to improve the library. The library is teaching kids that reading and learning can be fun and exciting.