Book giveaway provides opportunity

Reading offers distraction from digital learning


Amelia Mickelson

Senior Megan Raatz looks through the books in the used book drive to read during distance learning Feb. 3. These books were donated by the Park library and are free for students to use.

Maren Wilsey

In a year where school is limited to the confines of a home, encountering a new book is rare. According to Library Media Specialist Marie Slaby, the annual book giveaway provides a way for the library to let go of unwanted books and give them a new home with students. 


“Every year there are books we take out of the collection — we call it weeding,” Slaby said. “But the weeds are wonderful so we want them to go into the hands of a loving reader.” 


Junior Tashia Johannes said she thinks the giveaway will help students get away from the computer during distance learning.


“We are on screens the entire day, and you need a break from the digital world,” Johannes said. “Reading is a great way to center yourself and get back to doing stuff without technology. It’s been hard to find things to do that aren’t digital right now.”


According to English teacher Lindsey Meyer, a big issue for English teachers during distance learning is making sure students are able to access books outside of class.


“We can give them the resources to request books at the school library or the public library, but really, it’s still a barrier for so many of our students,” Meyer said. “Normally I have students reading independent books the entire year. But we’re seeing this year that students just don’t have books in their hands.”


Johannes said she thinks the convenient nature of the giveaway will encourage more students to expand their learning.


“It’s a great resource for students to have because (the books) are free,” Johannes said. “If they head into school for another reason, they can just pick up the books.”


According to Slaby, this was an intentional move on the media center’s part. Park faculty hoped to make the process as easy as possible for the students.


“Sometimes it can feel like a hassle to have to check out a book to the media center. To have a cart right there when you walk in is really nice,” Slaby said. “And if they read the book and it’s not for them, then it’s okay for them to pass it along to a friend and send it out into the world to somebody else who will read it.”


Meyer said she hopes the giveaway will distract students from the overwhelming digital world.


“I’ve actually had lots of students tell me that they’re reading more than they did in the past,” Meyer said. “At a certain point they get tired of the same shows on Netflix, they get tired of playing video games and they’re looking for other forms of escapism. For a lot of students anxiety is just so high right now that it’s a really nice escape to be offline.” 


The library’s book giveaway will be available in the main entrance until Feb. 22, then it will be located outside the media center.