The JDS library moves online, providing accessible resources and books to all

The+Media+Center%2C+also+known+as+the+library%2C+now++serves+as+a+classroom+for+in-person+school.+

photo by Nate Shemony

The Media Center, also known as the library, now serves as a classroom for in-person school.

Nate Shemony , Reporter

Without an in-person library to operate, as usual, the CESJDS librarians have been working tirelessly to transform the library of hard-copy books and resources to a more robust online website. Their goal is to help the students and teachers access the resources they need from the library.

“We’ve had to move all of our resources and all of our help online, which previously we had sort of a bare-bones website, and now that’s one of the big projects we’ve undertaken since quarantine began,” Media Center Specialist Cheryl Fox Strausberg said.

Since quarantine began, the librarians have developed a new way to check out books using the online JDS library. First, students and teachers find their book online and put it on “hold.” Then, they pick up the book they checked out in a marked box at the front of the school.

The JDS library takes safety seriously when it comes to the library and the books. After a book has been checked out and returned, it is placed in quarantine for a week.

“We only touch it with a mask on and gloves on to reshelve them,” Strausberg said. “We don’t usually wipe them down, because the statistics indicate that COVID does not live on materials that are covered in plastic for longer than three to four days, and we’re keeping them in quarantine for seven.”

While the library’s check out process is simple and effective, students still miss being able to randomly find a book at the library without having to search specifically for it.

“I do think sometimes when I go to check out a book, I’m not looking for a specific thing, I just want to find something new, so I think the librarians could have on the media center website a list of books to check out, like they normally have books on display when you walk in the library,” eighth grader Abby Chesman said.

It doesn’t just end with students; teachers relate and feel the same way about finding “hidden gems” in the library, a room full of knowledge. The library currently has 3686 books checked out and is subscribed to four online periodicals.

“You might just be looking for a specific book and as you scan the shelves you’re like, ‘Oh. Look at this book,` and it’s something I can use and it’s interesting. That’s certainly something I miss,” History Department Chair Mark Buckley said.

The JDS library was never seen as just a library; it’s much more than that. The library was the center of the school. Strausberg said that’s what she misses most about being in school.

“The media center is such a heart of the school building,” Strausberg said. “Students come during classes to work on projects, they come at lunch just to hang out, and there are so many more interactions that I have with students during work in the building.”

While Strausberg would love to be back in the building, she also believes that quarantine has opened up new doors for students regarding the library. She thinks that it’s an excellent opportunity for students to learn how to access other resources.

“I really think this has been a good opportunity to introduce students and the entire school to the idea that the Media Center is not a school-hour limited place,” Strausberg said. “It is a 24-hour help desk in some ways.”

All of the library’s online resources can be found on the Levitt Media Center website: https://sites.google.com/cesjds.org/levittmediacenter