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JES library checks out 100,000th book this year

By Stephen Dawkins

The library at Jemison Elementary School  checked out its 100,000th book of the school year.
The occasion—which occurred during Literacy Week and on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, no less—demonstrates how teachers and administrators have challenged students to read and how the students have responded.
School librarian Regina Young didn’t know exactly what book was the 100,000th to be checked it out or what student checked it out Tuesday.
“She was so busy, she missed it,” JES Principal Louise Pitts said.
“I missed it by about 200,” Young said.
Young stays busy because the library is used so regularly.
Pitts said most libraries use a fixed schedule, where each class visits the library at a certain day and time each week, or a flex schedule, where students visit the library individually after they have finished a book.
The JES library used both types of scheduling, and so as many as 12 classes visit the library on a given day to go along with the students that drop by as they finish a book.
“Ms. Young gives us the best of both worlds,” Pitts said. “Without her doing this, we wouldn’t be learning like we’re learning.”
The emphasis is part of the school’s employment of the Accelerated Reader program, where students are tested on their reading comprehension and their reading level increases as they perform well on the tests.
Each student has his or her own library card, and they have been instructed on how to use them to check out and check in their books without Young’s help.
The school even has a reading coach, Stephanie Halpert.
The students seem to enjoy the challenge of raising their reading level and trying more difficult reads.
“Ms. Pitts, I’m on a 4.3 level!” third grader Brianna Edwards exclaimed Thursday after checking out a new book.
“They love to tell you what level they’re on,” Pitts said.
Young said it’s not uncommon for the library to check out 1,300 books a day, remarkable considering the school has an enrollment of 885.
“That’s becoming our issue now is that so many kids are checking books out, they can’t find them on their level,” Pitts said, but that’s a problem she doesn’t mind having.