GMS bookworms have a beautiful new space to call their own once again at the new and improved school library, open for browsing, lending and just hanging out for the first time since Covid closed school campuses in 2020. Thanks to the months-long efforts of staff, parents and students, the library promises to promote a love of books and reading for all students for many years to come.
“I wanted to make sure that we used this space and this opportunity to revive the library, because nothing makes me happier than giving kids books, and I don’t want any student to not be reading because they couldn’t find the right book for them,” said Kirsty Gipson, the Humanities and Learning Seminar Instructional Leader who spearheaded the effort to create the new library.
Not only has the library moved into a new space with a fresh new look, its inventory has been refreshed and entirely re-organized: while school libraries are traditionally sorted by “reading level” or other dated systems, the new GMS library is organized by genre to encourage students to browse and explore, just like a bookstore would. This set-up makes it much easier for students to find books they might be interested in based on what they’ve enjoyed before, with student reviews pointing to popular favorites.
“Genre-fying libraries is part of a larger push to make books more easily accessible for more students, and to diversify who is coming into and using the library,” said Gipson.
From the beginning, it was important to enlist students as part of the library reconstruction effort, as they would be the first and best experts on how to make it appealing and useful. The “Reading Changemakers” advisory club, a group of 8 students at all grade levels, did the hard work of surveying the school’s book collection, recommending which books should be kept and discarded, and labeling and re-organizing the entire collection. They even wrote a $5,000 grant to help further beautify the space and expand the collection – think comfy seating options and inviting rugs, in addition to lots of new, high-interest books.
For now, the library will be available for students individually at lunch time, with teachers able to make use of the space during class for small groups or to allow students to check out books. Eventually, Gipson hopes the library will be able to expand hours, host high school and community volunteers, and invite local authors to speak.
Interested in helping the new GMS library get off to a strong start? Staff are seeking adults to help serve as deputy librarians and donations of new or gently-used books of interest to young adults. Contact Kirsty or Diana for more information.