School Library Month is celebrated each April and is a great reminder of the role that both school libraries and librarians play in the lives of students and teachers.
“My focus has always been and remains promoting excitement for reading,” says Sheri Wersterfer, librarian at Hoffmann Lane Elementary. “I try to make the library an experience that students love to come to. I want it to be visually appealing, and I try to pick topics that are exciting. I want them to think of reading as something great and something we just do.”
With 31 years of experience as an educator, Wersterfer shares her own love for reading with every student at HLES hoping to instill that same passion in each of them. From dressing up as a storybook character to adding voices for different characters in a book, Wersterfer strives to make reading fun and meaningful.
“I’ve always loved reading even as a kid, and as a teacher, that was one of the best parts of the day, to read to the kids,” says Wersterfer, who has spent the last 21 years as a librarian but started her career as a first-grade teacher in Comal ISD. She encourages parents and students to read books together no matter their age. This is something she, her husband and her adult-aged children still do.
Wersterfer is just one of 29 school librarians in the district who support teachers, students and parents. Smithson Valley High Librarian Amanda Trussell taught English for 10 years before becoming a librarian.
“I realized I wanted to spend more time developing a love of reading for the kids, because sometimes, I think we forget that high school kids need some encouragement too when it comes to picking up a book and getting lost in a fictional world or even a real world,” says Trussell, who has been the SVHS librarian for seven years.
Trussell explains that the library for high school students has become a place to not only learn but to collaborate and to evaluate information which is so easily accessible these days.
“I have seen the library become more than just a place to go to learn but also a place to share what you have learned,” she says. “You can really be a part of a learning community. It’s not just a place to hold sacred books and not touch them. It is a place to work and dig into the texts and dig into the research.”
While information is easily available thanks to the internet, all information is not equal. Trussell teaches students how to effectively search for information on a subject and how to use databases which they can trust and have been purchased by the district, the State of Texas and the campus.
“Our teachers expect quality resources, and we provide our students with those resources and sources they can trust,” Trussell says.
Above all, however, the library continues to be the best place to just get lost in another world, by finding the perfect book to read.
For young readers, Wersterfer suggests checking out Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy and Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems.
Trussell suggests a few of her favorite books to students including Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
“Most importantly, however, for older students, we need to give them time to read,” Trussell says. “If you know a teenager, you know that their time is really precious, but they also need time in their day to have the luxury to read.”
As summer gets closer, both librarians hope that students continue to find books, magazines or newspapers to read. They suggest that parents give their kids choices, find a subject that interests them and visit a library together.
Thank you Comal ISD Librarians!
-Hoffmann Lane Elementary Librarian Sheri Wersterfer enjoys creating a fun environment for her students, often dressing up like a storybook character as seen in this photo where she dressed up as the character in one of her favorite books, Library Dragon.
-Smithson Valley High School Librarian Amanda Trussell.