Quarantine can’t stop bookworms

Kaitlyn Keyes, Editor-in-Chief

During this time of isolation, there isn’t a whole lot to do when you’re social distancing. Watching television shows, playing board games with family, slaving away on the insurmountable amount of homework we seem to receive nightly, and … reading? But where can you get free books without the school library?

Turns out, the answer is simple: the school library.

Unbeknownst to much of the Liberty student body, since the beginning of October books have been available to pick up from the Liberty library.

The process of picking books up from the library is relatively simple: first, you need to log into Destiny (the Issaquah School District catalog library system). If you’re unsure how to log in, instructions can be found on school librarian JoAnn Olsson’s Canvas page. From there you put a hold on a book by 10:30 on Tuesday morning and then pick it up at the Liberty campus.

“When you get to Liberty to pick up your books, the office secretaries will buzz you inside, and there will be a little table to the left of the door that’ll have any books you order with a sticky note with your name on it,” Olsson said.

Whenever you’re finished with the book you checked out, you return the book to a return bin located on the floor next to the pickup table.

“The entire process of returning books is an honor system—it always is with a library anyways. But in this honor system, since students don’t physically go to school everyday, it’s really on them to take initiative to return books,” Olsson said. “But I do plan to communicate with people—letting them know I got their book and such— to make sure everything runs smoothly.”

Because of the pandemic, there are many precautions in place to ensure the safety of all students and staff involved.

“The entire process is contactless,” Olsson said. “I’m pretty neurotic about cleaning right now, so all the books will be wiped down carefully—both when I put them out and when they are returned.”

By keeping the library and its books available to students, Olsson hopes to help cure the Covid-19 boredom and provide students a creative outlet away from the computer. 

“It’s super important, especially in these times, for kids to have books to read,” Olsson said. “It’s downtime away from a computer; it gives you something to do when there’s not a lot of things to do. That’s why it’s good to have as many options for kids to get books as possible.”

But providing students with books isn’t the only way Olsson hopes to help the Liberty community in this time of virtual learning and contact—her role as a librarian goes beyond just checking out books.

“I want kids to know that if they have any questions about books—even if it’s just needing something to read or help with research, they can always email me and I’ll be happy to help,” Olsson said.

In addition to keeping Liberty’s library open and available to students, Olsson is giving students access to reading material in another way. In the past, Liberty has had a book review club, but this year she began an official Liberty book club where students read the same book and then meet once a month to discuss it. The club started at the beginning of quarantine and read many books over the summer, including Libba Bray’s The Great and Terrible Beauty and Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One.  

The book club takes place on the last Monday of every month at 3:30 PM, and the Zoom link can be found on Olsson’s library webpage as well as her Canvas page.

“Book Club is great because you get to read a lot of books that are out of your comfort zone—books which you wouldn’t usually select,” junior Book Club president Anna Grabowski said. “We read a variety of really good books, and it’s fun to branch out.”