Rossville school librarian Sherry Gick, who describes herself as a “life-long learner,” is always working on new methods of promoting literacy for students.
She is a member of a few student and teacher committees to recommend books of several different genres to grade school students, including the Eliot Rosewater Committee. Gick has already read 30 of the 85 books nominated by the committee to help develop the list of books for the 2013-2014 school year. Her goal is to put the right book in each student’s hands to encourage the joy of reading.
“I want to be able to tell them ‘I have the perfect book for you,’” Gick said. “Books are like clothes, you have to find what works for you.”
Not only is Gick trying to encourage reading but also make the library a fun space for the kids to explore, and a home away from home. In an effort to reach out to the video game generation, every month Gick and her student library aids put up different videogame icons, including Mrs. Pac-man, made out of multi-colored Post-Its on the windows of the library.
This week, she has taken part in banned books week, educating the students on popular book titles that have been challenged or banned in other schools over the years. She said the students are usually surprised by the list of classic and contemporary titles including: “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Each day this week, the students have answered trivia questions about the titles on the banned book list.
At the end of October, Gick will release the 10 book titles for the popular middle school and high school trivia game, Battle of the Books. Last year, there were more than 100 middle school students who competed.
“I enjoy the kids being excited about reading,” she said. “It’s all centered around books, and they get so competitive.”
The winning high school team will compete with other local high school winning teams for the Clinton County Battle of the Books finale.
Gick has also conducted activities centered around books, including the Peter Reynolds classic “The Dot.” Gick encouraged the students to think of ways where they could put their “dot” on the world by doing something positive and shared the information via Skype with other schools in Maryland, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Georgia. Some of the students’ goals in the in the middle school to high school level where helping out more with household chores and doing their part to eliminating bullying the school.
“It’s important for us to stretch outside the state,” she said. “With technology our world is so small.”
Rossville Middle School Principal Shawn McCracken said Gick is doing her part to make the library an exciting place.
“She makes reading fun and interesting for the kids,” McCracken said. “Her enthusiasm draws them in.”
In addition to helping the students, McCracken said Gick also does a great job of supporting the teachers.
“She goes out of her way to help the staff with resources and technology,” he said.
He said she’s introduced new learning methods to students, including the Skype exercise on National Dot Day as an effective teaching tool.
Though the Rossville school library is small, McCracken said Gick used the space to its capacity.
Gick has branded herself in social media via a personal blog under the name “library fanatic.” She heavily utilizes Facebook and Twitter to keep the kids updated on the books she’s currently reading and upcoming events at the library, enabling her to stretch her impact far beyond the Rossville High School library.
Though Gick is always busy at the library she said she wouldn’t be able to do what she does without the help of her student library aids. The aids free up her time to visit elementary classrooms and promote reading. The elementary kids refer to her as a “celebrity” and are happy to visit with her every time she comes to classroom, often shouting her name and waving hello.
Gick said she feels very lucky to be the Rossville school librarian.
“I get to do what I love every day,” she said.
Encouraging kids to read
Rossville school librarian Sherry Gick stands outside the library entrance decorated with Post-Its arranged to resemble Mrs. Pac-Man. Gick is constantly inventing new way to make reading fun for the students.
A job she loves
Rossville school librarian Sherry Gick is doing her part to make the library a fun and exciting place. Gick said she feels lucky to have a job she loves.