Davis High School Library

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Davis High School library welcomes community members

January 24, 2009 by Adriana Janovich

Noise. It’s one thing you wouldn’t expect to find in a library. Yet, at the Davis High School Library and Media Center, noise is the essence of a day-to-day operation. The library, says Lynne Greene, the director of the library media center, has the “atmosphere of planning for our futures.” And it offers much more than books.

Austin Wagner, 15, and a freshman at Davis High School, studies math in the school library, which is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Photo by Catherine Maier of Davis High School.
Austin Wagner, 15, and a freshman at Davis High School, studies math in the school library, which is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Photo by Catherine Maier of Davis High School.

Student, teacher and Yakima Valley Community College tutors are available. So are approximately 75 online computers as well as computer support in English and Spanish. The library also offers free proofreading and help with scholarships, résumés, business letters, and college and job applications. There are meeting areas, study tables, Microsoft Office and Graphic Analysis programs, and SAT prep classes.

Oh, and there are books, too.

“I always am impressed when I go into the library,” says Davis High School principal Ben Ramirez. “It’s busy,” he says. “Kids are working.” It’s a place, he says, “where kids can meet and engage academically with each other.”

The library’s hours set it apart from other facilities on the Davis campus. Open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, as well as from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, the library is available to students, as well as community members. That includes adults and students from other schools.

In fact, students from as far away as White Swan and Sunnyside have been known to use the Davis High School Library and Media Center. Up to 20 percent of the people in the library on a regular basis are from other schools or the community.

Greene, who’s in her 60s, began working at the library in 1983. She had a dream that students would have access to online computers and classes. Working with a reading teacher from Davis, she got the Yakima School District to fund a computer lab. A local Rotary Club also contributed to the cause. The project started with volunteer tutors. Then, Greene got a grant to get funding so the center could be opened to the public, with supervisors and tutors available well into the evening. The city of Yakima contributed nearly $17,000 for the 2003-2004 school year. The Yakima Valley Community Foundation gave about $14,000 in 2005.

When the grant ran out, the school district allowed the library to continue its extended hours. Currently, the library is funded by several partnerships and grants. Other schools, such as Perry Technical Institute, Yakima Valley Community College and Heritage University support the library, as does 21st Century Learning, a federal program that funds after-school programs.

Giovanny Castro, a 14-year-old freshman at Davis, says he uses the library every day for a “means of reading.” He also goes to the library about once a month to work on projects and use the computers. He says the library is a great place to find resources as well as to relax. It’s “a very calming place to mostly read.”

Davis senior Chris Parrish, 18, says he’s met students from Naches Valley and West Valley schools in the Davis library, and Kenneth Capp, a math and philosophy teacher at Davis, says he’s also seen students from Eisenhower, Selah and YVCC in the Davis library.

Capp is one of four Davis teachers who work in the library. He points out that most universities have libraries that are open all day, every day.

“I love that model,” says Capp, 55, who is in the high school library four to six hours a day after school. He has also gone in on weekends, mostly to help students with math. Four staff members run the center. The library also employs 22 student tutors who work two to four hours a day, as well as teacher tutors. Tutors from YVCC help out through a work-study program. About 200 books are circulated every day. And anywhere from 100 to nearly 200 people use the library after school lets out.

However, many community members don’t know the Davis library is there for them, Ramirez says.

The library is regularly mentioned in the Davis newsletter, and there’s a sign outside the building. But the principal says he wants to get more information about the library to the public.

That way, even more people might take advantages of its resources.

— Georgia Gempler is a member of the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed team. She attends Davis High School.

Source: Davis High School library welcomes community members. Yakima Herald-Republic, 24 January 2009.

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