Let LMC help find ‘perfect date’

Londonderry+Media+Center+librarian+specialists%2C+%28Left+to+right%29+Melissa+Brayall+and+Lydia+Campos+stand+with+fellow+new+librarian+assistants+Deb+Tanguay+and+Teri+Foley.

Kaylie

Londonderry Media Center librarian specialists, (Left to right) Melissa Brayall and Lydia Campos stand with fellow new librarian assistants Deb Tanguay and Teri Foley.

Romantic, mysterious or just down right horrific—while not all of these are the best adjectives for a Valentine’s Day date, the Library Media Center (LMC)’s “blind date with a book” can perfectly select the best match for you.

“A lot of people get their book recommendations from friends or family, so why not have the library staff pick some out for them?” Melissa Brayall, the new library media specialist, said. “Considering the library staff has pretty good knowledge of what we have in this room and new books coming in.” 

Brayall was doing some research on other libraries and found that another school library was doing something similar.

“It just jumped out at me,” Brayall said. “It’s a very cool idea.”

Through a google form, Brayall is able to find the perfect ‘dates’ for each student. The form asks for information

Senior Matt Giangrande frequents the LMC to decompress and study. (Kaylie Donahue)

about things such as reading preferences and hobbies. After submitting the form the student will have one or two books ready for them to pick up by the next day. 

“A lot of people come up to the library and don’t know where to start, so this kinda [helps them figure it out],” Brayall said. 

Brayall tested the idea with Mrs. Downing’s reading classes and since then, the rest of the library staff and herself have been working hard getting these books ready for every submission they get. 

“It’s more of a collaboration where we say ‘I think this one would be good, and so would this one,’” Brayall said, “so then we can decide what would be best.”

Although Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the LMC staff still plans to continue a “blind date with a book” as long as students and staff still want to submit responses. 

“I don’t see any reason not to keep doing it,” Brayall said. “It’s not really a hard thing for us to do, so if we get one or two every so often we don’t mind [finding books].”  

Since the start of the pandemic, the LMC has seen a decline in student attendance. But with some new staff and creative ideas, Lydia Campos—who’s been at LHS since 2007 with over 20 years of experience as a library media specialist—said she’s optimistic about getting back to pre-pandemic times and starting to see a lot more students.

“The last couple of years have been a real challenge for us with COVID-19,” Campos said. “It’s kind of taking a while to get people back to feeling comfortable [in the library].”

Despite the slow return of many students, Campos is glad so many seniors have come to the LMC. 

“Even though they have open campus, they choose to come here,” Campos said. “For the last couple of years I’ve been trying to talk to juniors and seniors about why libraries are important. It’s a really amazing resource, and it’s something that I want younger adults to understand.”

Senior Josh Truesdale scours for a new book within the LMC. (Kaylie Donahue)

Even though seniors seem to be coming in more frequently, the library has been trying out new ways to get other students in too. One of these methods is by creating fun displays such as the “I don’t remember what the name is but I know the cover’s red” display and “book-tok” display to show off viral books on TikTok. 

“It’s really just little fun things that we’re doing to build community and to make it feel comfortable being here,” Brayall said.

Even though it’s a library, books aren’t the only activity for students; puzzles and crosswords are also available to everyone. Being a more comfortable and open space for students to work along with being a place to enjoy themselves is the mission of the library staff. 

“We’re kinda open to [anything]” Brayall said. “It’s not like the old-time library where everyone has to be silent and everything. As long as you’re being respectful and not super loud and obnoxious, we’re open to you coming on up to relax.”

The comfort of students and allowing them to have a place to go before, during, and after the school day helps the library bring in regulars that come up to enjoy themselves.

“Whether it’s studying, talking to your friends or whatever else, it should be a place for people to go to feel comfortable,” Brayall said.  

Other than being a relaxing area for students to decompress, the library is also a great resource for all project needs. Everything provided by the library is meant to spark independence and help students do the work they need to without hiccups.

 “We have a lot of resources here, not just books but creative supplies as well,” Brayall said. “Say you need to do something with poster board and markers or digital stuff with the green screen, we have all of that available.”

Overall, the staff wants to create a space where the average student can feel comfortable and get work done, to decompress or just hang out.  

“We just want people to know about us, that we’re up here and we’re willing to help out anybody at any time,” Brayall said. “We’re open, and we’re friendly folks.”

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