Noteworthy News

Volunteers needed to continue work at School of Alternatives library

Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library and Center for Service Learning, along with participants from the university’s 2014-15 Leadership Academy program, are partnering with the Jackson County School of Alternatives to develop a functional and sustainable library at the school.

Volunteers from WCU work at the Jackson County School of Alternatives in October. More volunteer time is needed to complete a project to create a viable library at the school.

Volunteers from WCU work at the Jackson County School of Alternatives in October. More volunteer time is needed to complete a project to create a viable library at the school.

Last May, Leadership Academy participants visited the school located on Skyland Drive near Sylva as part of their regional tour and “were deeply impressed by the dedication of the staff doing outstanding work for their students with very few resources,” said Liz Skene, digital initiatives librarian at Hunter Library who is overseeing the project.

Inspired to collaborate with the school, which is also known as “The Hub,” the Leadership Academy class identified the library as an area in which WCU could offer expertise and assistance, Skene said. The school currently has no functioning library and no staff dedicated to operating it. “There is a physical library space in the school with a few hundred books on shelves roughly organized, but there is no formal shelving system, no catalog of the books for students or teachers to search, and no method for checking out books,” Skene said.

Late in October, a group of 21 volunteers from WCU began the task of physically reorganizing and cataloging the school’s library. The three-step process involves adding books to the school’s account using the website LibraryThing, determining the Lexile reading level of each book, and labeling it with the reading level and author’s last name, Skene said. The work is supported by a School University Teacher Education Partnership grant from WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions.

Among the volunteers were WCU students Savannah Bateman and Michael Redman. Both said they enjoyed helping out at the school, with Bateman adding that it was a “wonderful experience” to learn how to catalog books and create a library. “I also enjoyed working with such wonderful people,” she said. Redman called the effort a “valuable project” and said he was impressed by how many people volunteered. “Everyone worked hard and we got a lot done. Hopefully, the contribution will be a lasting one,” he said.

Significant progress was made by the volunteers in October, but about 65 percent of the library still needs to be cataloged and sorted, and groups of volunteers are being sought, Skene said. No previous experience is needed and date and times are flexible.

For more information on volunteering, contact Skene at emskene@wcu.edu.

By Randall Holcombe

Categories | The Reporter


Photos | WCU News Services

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