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Shawnee school librarians celebrate National Library Week

Elisabeth Slay
Will Rogers librarian Chandra Swisher in one of several videos she has posted to stay connected with her students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic the librarians of Shawnee Public Schools have maintained contact with students through online sources and have gone the extra mile to celebrate National Library Week April 20-24.

According to Will Rogers Elementary School librarian Chandra Swisher, she and other librarians in the district have posted videos of book talks and fun exercises to help students as they finish the remainder of the year.

"I feel like we have to make ourselves more relevant as librarians than we have before," Swisher said. "We have to branch out now to more digital."

Swisher said she and the other district librarians have implemented daily social distance themed challenges.

"Everyday I try to post something wither a link to a website or I'll read a story or I'll talk about a digital book that they can read that has to do with that theme," Swisher said.

The librarian said she posted a fun video on Wednesday, April 22 to celebrate Earth Day and will post more items for the next to themes which are Thankful Thursday, April 23 and a dinosaur theme on Friday, April 24.

"I've found myself having to be really creative now with doing all of this online," Swisher said.

Swisher said for those students who may not have access to online resources the district has provided them with books donated by the community and the librarians are reaching out to those students individually.

"Shawnee is a great community. I'm so happy to be working where they have so many sources for supplies whatever we need (such as) books," Swisher said.

The librarian said in addition to National Library Week, she has been celebration National Poetry Month by posting poems online two or three times a week to the school's Facebook page and other social media sites.

Swisher said she's received positive feed back students who have seemed to enjoy all of her videos and other online content.

"I've gotten some really good comments on some of my videos," Swisher said. "I've gotten some pretty good responses and a lot of views."

Swisher explained in addition to posting videos and other content, all the librarians in the district have also been talking to students through Zoom while they're in their virtual class lessons.

"That's an awesome way to see and connect with the students," Swisher said. "I have a lot of good readers."

The librarian said it's important for educators to stay connected with the students during this difficult time.

"The students need to know we're still here for them...and this isn't fun for us either. We'd much rather be in school," Swisher said.

As time goes on, Swisher said she hopes to go back to her library and help the students of Will Rogers continue their reading and education.