New librarian shares vision for new Gateway resource center

Gateway’s new Library Director, Bill Brown, perusing a new book. Brown oversees the district’s school libraries. (Photo submitted)

HUNTINGTON  Within the past year, the Gateway library has been headed by William W. Brown. Brown, an English teacher for 15 years, had played a support role in running alternate schools for kids on the verge of dropping out before coming to Gateway Regional to be the librarian.
Brown has been doing everything in his power to make the school library bigger and better. A new 5th and 6th grade section has been added, with a bigger reading area for younger students who want to tuck away and read a book while others rush around to gather information for the latest report. Junior high students are no longer restricted from checking out high school fiction. The high school fiction section has been moved toward the checkout desk for easier help. The circulation desk now has a slideshow monitor with current happenings and historical events.
There is now even an area designated for class use, but Brown has applied for a grant to get money to expand distance learning in that area, which would create a space for virtual, interactive field trips. Distance learning would bring students to any number of places with their own designated guide to show them the way.
Library hours are from 7:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., and all students and teachers are welcome to come and stay at any time in that period. It is the perfect place to do research, study, and interact. It’s more than just a place for books—it is a community center where students can come for their purposes, and teachers can collaborate together.
“I want the entire school community to feel welcome,” said Brown. He then explained how he wanted to make the perfect 21st century library.
In order to keep track of book checkouts, Brown and Lynette Avery, the assistant librarian, use the Destiny system by Follett. They also purchase most of the library’s books through Follett, and use the convenient library cataloguing system to keep everything on track.
Brown also supervises the online courses, which are held in a room at the back of the library, where students can take courses not offered in a classroom. These students have their own teachers online, but are mostly self-directed. Despite not being a hands-on teacher, Brown straightens out any issues regarding technology and encourages the students to stay on pace.
In the years to come, Brown hopes to increase the library’s availability for books, events, and projects. He wishes to put more variety into the library, and to completely fill up the shelves. Brown wants to expand the distance learning program as soon as possible, and fill the library with people ready to read, interact, and learn. In the meantime, Brown encourages everyone to come and see what is already prepared for them.

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