Library brings new offerings to shelves
Each year, the Poolesville High School library operates on a $13,000 budget to fill its shelves based on the current academic needs and interests of students. Ms. Michelle Hunsicker-Blair, media specialist at PHS, closely adheres to the words of librarian and mathematician S.R. Ranganathan, who said that the library gives “every reader his book” and “every book his reader.”
The Database of Accountable Evaluations is used by Montgomery County Public School teachers to store reviews on which books are appropriate for the school learning environment. This means that approved books are inspected for content and quality prior to purchase. According to Hunsicker-Blair, most fiction novels in the PHS library can trace its roots to this selection.
SMCS sophomore Mariam Rahman states that her “favorite books from the media are fiction, [specifically] fantasy or historical fiction.”
The library catalog posted on the school website is powered by Destiny, which monitors student interest in helping to purchase new books. Besides the online student request survey, direct in-person book requests can also be made by students in the library.
Among annual purchases, updated review books for standardized tests always make the list. Hunsicker-Blair seeks to renew PHS’ SAT, ACT, and AP review books every year to help PHS students who are studying for these academic tests. In addition to the budget allocated to the school library by MCPS, a relatively miniscule amount is also given for smaller purchases. Hunsicker-Blair states that she uses this amount on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.
Hunsicker-Blair also promotes book donations to the school media center, saying, “If you have something you have read and you would like to pass it on to us, we are very happy to receive it.”
Humanities sophomore Hannah Kim states, “I love going through the new books section and there’s nothing I’d particularly want [to] change about that.”
Student interest in a particular book might dip, or a book’s conditions become substandard. In this case, deletions occur during which the book to be marked out is removed from the catalog in a process called “weeding,” which keeps the shelves contemporary to the constant shifting of the tides.