Crossroads of Education: Amy Nice

Amy Nice – Librarian Teutopolis Schools Unit 50 

When did you first hear about the COVID pandemic?

In the school setting  I think the teachers were very much made aware by the administrators. Letting us know what was going on. Then through the news and media.

The week that schools closed how much notice did you feel like you got?

I don’t feel liem there was a lot of notice. And I don’t feel like it could have been prevented in the school setting. I think everyone did the best that they could. And once we were notified we didn’t know how long it would be. We thought it would be a week or two and then it continually grew into the rest of the school year.

So how did your role change when the school closed?

My role changed significantly. Our goal was to get books to the students. So here at the garde school what we did  was we brought books down from the library  and we did packet pick ups and so Angie Hoetze and I were making sure every student had books so they had enough reading material. And reaching out to the Junior high and High School students as well and making sure they had books too. That was our focus. We were still doing all the purchase orders and ordering books for this school year.

You normally do a summer library were you able to do that at all this summer?

No we weren’t. We shared the Hoopla resource from Effingham Public Library. We have Tumblebooks. Our Interlibrary Loan service was not available but we had digital books available. So we just tried to push out whatever reading we could to the kids even if it was digital and not always physical books. 

What did you or your school do to support remote learning for the kids?

I think our school did great. We’re one to one with the chrome books. We have awesome tech support and an awesome tech teacher here at the Grade School. Making sure that students who didn’t have the internet could get a physical copy. Getting lunch to the students. The cooks gathered lunch here and they had a daily lunch pick up. Making sure everyone had what they needed in the way of food. 

What for you was the biggest challenge?

As librarians we love when kids come in and they choose their book they’re excited about reading. And it was a challenge; we tried to think about what each individual student read in the past and what we thought they would be interested in. Just making sure that we got them what they would enjoy.And not seeing them every week and still try to connect with them.

What was the biggest frustration?

I feel like everyone at our school chipped in and tried to do the best that they could. They hauled all the books down here and volunteered to make it happen. That wasn’t so frustrating. Really it was just the day to day not being with the students.  And now we’re just trying to get back into a routine. And we’re trying to get them ready in case we do have to go back remote. 

Has the pandemic had any knock on effect now on how you run the library?

Each of the three libraries is a little bit different but here at the Grade School we’re still having the students come to the library. They’re using hand sanitizer when they come in. Between each class we’re spraying down the library We’re limiting the bowsing of books a little. We’ve created Destiny accounts for everyone  and remote learners can login and place holds from home and we’re trying to make sure we get those books for the 4th, 5th and 6th graders. We’re trying to get them more familiar with Destiny right off the get-go in case we do have to go remote.they can create their own lists they can see if a book is in or out.We used to do a little lesson but now we can’t have them lineup to check out so we go around with chrome books to scan and check out their books. So we have them spread out as much as possible and we go to them. And then at Junior High and High School we use interlibrary loan a lot and now the books have to hold and wait. The fact it’s even open is amazing and that we have students who want a specific book and that we can get it into their hands! 

Were there new things that you learnt?

I had Google Classroom set up but then I had to think what is my best way to reach the students. At the start we had a google sheet that we had students fill out and then we were trying to fill some of those requests and now we’ve got Destiny set up so they have individual accounts. We joined CloudLibrary.And addec the apps to their chrome books.

What did you most take for granted?

Drinking water. Now we’re wearing a mask. I realized I read lips a lot. They talk so quietly in the library,

What will you appreciate more?

Students coming in. Having the time to enjoy the students more.

What will you take forward?

Showing the student what books are available with Destiny so they know how to order books they can get straight away. Having access to digital books. We added playaway books for those who don’t enjoy reading so they can listen to them instead, 

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