Shea High School’s library receives donation of 100 books | News

PAWTUCKET – Shea High School’s library received a donation of 100 books from the Brownstone Book Fund last week.

The school library was one of 100 libraries in the state of Rhode Island to receive such a gift from the private foundation in New York City, which works to provide books for young adults to foster an interest and love for reading.

Sharyn Farley, Shea High School’s librarian, said she chose books from the Rhode Island Teen Book Award list, the International Latino Book Awards young adults list, and books that were given five stars from not only adult readers, but young adult readers as well due the fact that they are going to be read by high school students.

After researching the books, Farley said she chose the ones she felt were appropriate, interesting, and fit the students’ reading levels and requests. She said she wanted all of the books they received to be ones that would be interesting to students so that they would get the proper use.

“The donation is a diverse selection of all types of books,” Farley said. “It took three weeks to choose all 100 books and then I placed my order in August and just got them this past week.”

Farley said that due to the pandemic hitting in March 2020 and school moving to virtual learning, she did not order any books until she placed the order for these donated books last August.

“Because of COVID-19, we were out of school so I didn’t order any more books. I don’t want to order books without the kids letting me know what they want, because they always come to me and tell me what book they want to have in the library,” Farley said. “It was a perfect time for me to get these books because I had not ordered any new ones.”

Farley said students mainly requested books or graphic novels falling into the mystery, fantasy, and romance genres. She said she only ordered the books she thought were the best for the students and most appropriate.

Farley said that one reason graphic novels are so popular at the school is because many students have recently come to the US and speak English as a second language.

“We get a lot of kids that have been in the country for one or two years and the graphic novels are great for them,” Farley said. “It’s a learning curve, and having the images next to the words is great.”

Farley said that while libraries in the digital age have changed, high school libraries and public libraries still offer major support systems in reading, writing and research.

Farley and her fellow librarians teach how to use digital and print services, how to access and evaluate websites, and how to make sure their students are getting valid information and using valid news sources.

Farley said that many people do not think libraries and books hold the same weight they once did, but she believes that they do.

“A lot of the kids don’t have internet at home, and everyone thinks everyone has phones, but that’s not true,” she said. “Public libraries and my library at Shea give kids public access. A lot of kids come in early so they can have a quiet and safe place to hang out and read or do their work.”

Farley said the library provides students with eBooks, audio books, magazines and physical books. They also have access to a major website they can all access, which has a catalog of all books available. Despite all that technology, she said she finds that most students want a physical book.

“Ninety-nine percent of kids want a hardcover book, not the eBooks,” Farley said. “You talk to readers, and actual readers want real books. Everyone says high school kids don’t read, but yes, they do.”

Farley said that despite the library only being open for a few hours over the previous week due to testing being conducted in the library, many of the books that were part of the donation were already checked out within the first few days of receiving them.

Farley thanked Diane Brownstone and the Brownstone Book Fund for the donation.

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