Monday, October 4, 2010

Library Books

What is more basic to a school than library books? No money? No books. Not true, because when talking about the most precious element of a school, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Teachers and school systems can get very resourceful.

Pilot Mountain School in the 1940’s had little money to establish a library. The few books that were available stayed in the classroom of the teacher who brought them from home. The school system contracted with the county public library system for a bookmobile to make bimonthly stops at the outlying county schools such as Pilot Mountain. The original bookmobile, an old clunker of a converted delivery truck, sat disabled on the side of the road all too often. Next came a government surplus vehicle that had seen its fair share of battles during World War II. This library on wheels arrived at Pilot Mountain School every other week, on schedule, for the children to exchange their books for new ones.
Speaking of World War II, there were several army bases in North Carolina that were no longer needed after the war. There were libraries on each base. In fact, during the war, there had been a home front/war effort drive to collect gently used books to supply these base libraries. Now those same books were government surplus and available to schools. Pilot Mountain received several shipments of books. A good thing, isn’t always a good thing.

Imagine the delight! Books. Finally. Boxes and boxes of books. But also, there was no librarian to check through the books for appropriate language and content. These books were for mature readers. These children had never seen such words in print. They didn’t know things like that could happen. Sixty some years later, those former students still remember those books and chuckle.

Catch of the day,