Stop by the CCHS Library before the first bell of the day, and you will see controlled pandemonium. Students waiting four deep at the main desk for study hall passes, checking books in and out, printing papers, downloading assignments, and, oh, yeah, doing some socializing. This morning was no different.
Through the throng I spied a teacher chatting with students while he waited for me. When the bell rang and the crowd thinned, he approached with a sheepish grin.
"I don't know if you can help me or not, but I need a book."
"Well," I replied with a heavy dose of irony, "you're in the right place."
"Have you ever heard of Swimmy?"
"Leo Lionni." I shot back. Lionni is one of the greatest children's authors of all time. Eight years as an elementary school librarian - come on, give me a hard one. "Why do you need Swimmy?"
"Working on some team building."
This is what I love about working at CCHS. Not only does this teacher work all day teaching and challenging students, he coaches one of the biggest teams as well. 140+ student athletes are a lot to manage, and he is looking for a creative way to build team spirit. Swimmy is a great choice. He needs it before practice at 2:30. Today. No problem. My philosophy is that student and teacher requests are our first priority, no matter what. You need it? We hop through hoops to get it to you as quickly as possible. No student (or teacher) is ever left behind.
During a gap between classes I zip over to the Thoreau School Library to borrow their copy. Karen Pettyjohn is in the middle of a third grade lesson on the Dewey Decimal System. They are all working in the restaurant "Chez Dewey," and Dewey is on the menu! The kids can't wait!
Swimmy and I dash back to CCHS, I prop the book on the teacher's desk, and make it back in time for the next class. As a section of sophomores files in for a research project, I have an unusually big smile. It's always fun to collaborate with teachers and other school librarians - even to grab a picture book. We're a team. Kind of like Swimmy!