Mae Craddock (left) poses with students and Anna Roberts (right) participates in story time yoga.

It’s documented. More people go to the library than the combined attendance at all major league baseball games, national football league games and national basketball association games in a single non-COVID year. In fact, more Americans go to the public library than go to the movies. There are over 80,000 public school libraries in the United States and each one is a springboard to lifelong learning. 

For the past 63 years, the nation has celebrated National Library Week, and this is the week. It’s an apt time to celebrate the library professionals who are designing and operating innovative and collaborative programming to bring communities together around the discovery of knowledge.

One example right here in our school division is Mae Craddock’s Leading Change monthly book club.  Although Mae is the charter school’s librarian, her club is open to students from throughout the county. Each month, the focus is on books about social justice, which are read, analyzed and discussed by students. And students also can join Mae’s Cross County Mystery book club, which is designed to combat the stress and isolation increased by the pandemic. A few years ago, Mae was instrumental in the division earning the National School Board Association’s top program innovation prize, the Magna Award for the multiple learning opportunities housed in Monticello High School’s media center. Not surprising that this past year she was chosen by the Virginia Association of School Librarians as its School Librarian of the Year. 

While on the subject of book clubs, teachers at Mountain View, including Jeff Handler, Marian McCullough, Chiaka Chuks and Katy Schutz began Colts Care, a reading program for families on the subject of racial inclusion and individual excellence. They are working with their librarian, Anna Roberts, who has been incorporating the themes around each month’s discussions in her lessons for students. 

Congratulations to all of our school librarians who remain fiercely dedicated to providing students and families with the resources to reach their full potential as learners, workers and citizens.