School libraries rebounding after COVID, trustees told

Ananda Campbell

Ananda Campbell

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It’s always good practice to ask a librarian what she’s reading, and Carson City School District school library media specialist Ananda Campbell always has an answer.

This month, her book of choice is “The First to Die at the End,” Adam Silvera’s prequel to his “They Both Die at the End,” celebrating the impact people make on each other.

National Library Month, celebrated in April, honors the contributions of libraries. Campbell calls Carson City’s school librarians experts at finding answers to students’ questions — or at least identifying the resources to them.

“School librarians empower learners to become critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, researchers and ethical users of information,” she said.

Although National Library Week fell during the district’s spring break, she told CCSD’s trustees during her annual report this month the school libraries have taken up activities to help students appreciate their books, digital resources and databases they can access with the aid of the workers.

Campbell provided highlights from the 2022-23 school year, from creating science, technology, engineering, arts and math rooms (STEAM) at Fremont Elementary School to hosting a Tournament of Books at Eagle Valley Middle School.

Circulation statistics for the district’s secondary schools have made strides through the pandemic, hitting the expected dip in 2021 after COVID-19 hit and school campuses were closed. Eagle Valley and Carson Middle schools were operating at half time during this period, and so ordering books was limited. CMS hired a new librarian in 2020, so circulation went from 4,641 to 7,763 between 2020 and 2021 and increased again to 10,957 before dropping to 8,549. EVMS saw a drop from 5,722 to 3,273 books from 2021 to 2022, rebounding to 7,456 books and lowering to 5,799 in 2023.

Campbell said at CHS, the biggest cut also happened from 2020 to 2021, going from 2,998 to 1,428 and recovered afterward to 2,229 in 2022 and increasing to 2,820 this year.

“I’m now able to have classes in the library for about a year and a half there,” she said. “I wasn’t able to do that before. I’m really happy to see Carson High’s numbers rising.”

Campbell said she continues to make sure her workers are obtaining their professional growth and certification, meeting by Zoom, and the secondary libraries help students focus on material selection and technological integration.

“It’s important to have someone on your staff understand media literacy,” she said. “We teach the students safe ways to explore with these new tools. They need to know to cite it and how to use artificial intelligence.”

Campbell added while she often competes with popular social media platforms such as TikTok to offer students accurate information or sources at times, she said she believes she’s making progress through the current literacy activities and staff connections.

“People come to the library to solve problems,” she said.


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