In Between the Lines

A student opens up a book as a whole new world overruns his imagination. The characters come to life as the plot immerses the reader into the book. The library here provides students with all of these experiences.  

The library is one of the greatest assets that the school has to offer. There are many different kinds of resources that are available for students to use. Librarian Ms. Carrey Reynolds does whatever she can to help students dive into the realm of books. 

Ms. Reynolds would have never joined the Catholic High faculty if it wasn’t for an ad. “I was working as a librarian in Northeast Arkansas when a friend of mine who lived in Little Rock called me at work one day and told me to look at the want ads in the Democrat-Gazette,” said Ms. Reynolds. “I looked through the ads that morning and stumbled on one that read, ‘Catholic High School for Boys is looking for a librarian with a sense of humor and a spirit of adventure to work with 700 high-spirited but well-behaved boys. If interested, contact Fr. Tribou.’ I read that ad and felt it was written just for me. 

“I was looking to make a change at that time and this looked like a real possibility,” said Ms. Reynolds. “So I took the ad down to my best friend who worked at the same school I did and asked her to read it. She looked up at me and said, ‘You have to follow up.’”

Ms. Reynolds knew nothing about Catholic High before coming here, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing the job offer. “The school was clearly an all-boys school,” she said. “I didn’t even know if they hired women teachers, but I made the call and spoke to Mrs. Barbara Pierce, who worked in the office at that time. She encouraged me to send a resumé, which I did. After that, Fr. Tribou contacted me, and we set up an interview, and he hired me on the spot.”

There is a lot of work that goes into keeping the library up to date. “You don’t want to keep a lot of outdated books and materials, but you also can’t just throw things out willy-nilly,” said Ms. Reynolds. “ANSAA [Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association] requires school libraries to house a certain number of books based on enrollment.”

The school also has a budget for buying books. “Classic novels are classic; they stand the test of time while non-fiction books need to be weeded periodically,” said Mrs. Reynolds. “A decision is made as to whether to replace the book with a newer title or not. But non-fiction books vary in how much they need to be weeded. Computers and internet access have definitely helped to keep current materials available, especially when it comes to research.”

The library has more to offer than just books. “We have a digital subscription to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and subscriptions to about 20 print magazines,” said Ms. Reynolds. “We also have fifty or so DVDs on various topics ranging from biographies like Martin Luther King and Mark Twain to the Crusades, the Civil War, the Salem witchcraft trials, and Auschwitz. 

“In addition to these in-house resources, we have access to thousands of digital resources through the Arkansas State Library in the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). This gives our students free access to thousands of resources that I could not possibly provide otherwise,” said Ms. Reynolds.

The CALS Tech card gives every student free access to all of the digital resources the library offers. “It’s like a virtual branch of the library, and all of our students can access it from school or from home,” said Ms. Reynolds. “This puts so much information right at your fingertips and it’s free.”

Junior Michael Elser appreciates the many resources of the library. “The library is a change of scenery,” he said. “It is a calm and relaxing environment where I can study, and if I need to, do some research.” 

Junior Nathan Ghidotti has some similar experiences with the library. “I come to the library to do Mu Alpha Theta and for my computer science class,” he said. “I was doing a project for Coach [Todd] Ezzi’s religion class on a saint of my choice. Ms. Reynolds helped me find great book sources for information on my project.”

Not only does Ms. Reynolds help students find books in the library, but she also researches different sources to find the newest books for students.  “I subscribe to library journals that publish reviews of new books which are recommended for school libraries,” she said. “I read a lot of reviews and quite a few books before deciding on what new books to order. I also consult the Senior High Core Collection which contains curriculum-based recommendations for libraries.

“New books then come into the library in a variety of ways. I deal directly with a publishing house itself, though that’s rare,” said Ms. Reynolds. “I order quite a few books from Amazon, especially if I want them quickly. I also accept preview books from companies who send boxes of books out for me to look at. I keep what I want, and return the rest.”

Another way Ms. Reynolds acquires books is by recommendations from teachers. “The English teachers, especially, are good at providing me with a list from their professional source they’d like to see their students read,” said Ms. Reynolds. “Our teachers are really good at letting me know about a book or books they think should be on our shelves.”

Ms. Reynolds is so passionate about her job that she would do anything to get a book for a student. “What I love the best is when a student comes in looking for a particular book that we might not have and is surprised to learn that I’ll get it for him (that is if I agree it’s a good one for us to have),” she said. “I’ve been known to make a quick run to Barnes & Noble and grab a book in order to get it into the hands of the boy who requested it.”

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