When librarian Kathryn Levenson started working at Piedmont High School in 2016, she was dismayed at the state of the library collection. The shelves were crammed with many aged books that had not been checked out in over a decade. The average publication date of the books was 1988.
In order to keep a library collection useful, two things must happen: First, a librarian must weed out all the oldest and least relevant books and second, add newer books. Both weeding and purchasing need to happen every year to keep a library collection vibrant. Over the years, Ms. Levenson has weeded many books including lots of outdated reference books and encyclopedias. Ms. Levenson’s weeding has brought the average age of the books up to 1997. Even then, the books are older than the students. (Freshmen were born in 2003 and 2004). Ms. Levenson’s goal is “to have a robust, high quality, diverse collection, appealing to high school students and supporting the curriculum.” For this, Ms. Levenson needs more new books, but prioritizing student access to ever more expensive research databases means fewer official funds to buy new books.
The Friends of the PHS Library is hoping that a book drive will increase the number of books per student and rejuvenate the collection. We would like to partner with every Piedmont book club and ask them to donate one copy of each book they read after their discussion. Our plan is that this book drive will be continuous and that Piedmonters will get into the habit of cleaning their shelves every few months to share their recently read books with the students at the high school. We need newer books in all departments: Fiction, Biography, Memoirs, Science, History, Politics, Economics, Literature and Social Studies.
Here are two more ways to help:
- Buy books for the library at our virtual book fair: PHS teachers have posted a Wish List with about 100 books at Books Inc. and 5 percent of these sales will be donated back to PHS Library. The link is: https://www.booksinc.net/wishlist/421. Books should be sent to PHS Library, 800 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont, CA 94611.
- Donate gently used books published since 2014 (hardcover preferred) by bringing them to the collection box at the Piedmont Education Foundation Office in Veteran’s Hall. Please include a slip of paper with your name and email in any donated books so that we can thank you for your contribution.
If you are interested in helping brainstorm ways to modernize the PHS Library collection or would like to volunteer in the library, please join the Friends of PHS Library by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.