Challenger’s new library acts as ‘hub’ of school
By KEVIN ENDEJAN
Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor
September 22, 2012 · Updated 7:55 AM
While more and more adults shift to smartphones, tablets and computers to do their reading, some things remain timeless.
Challenger Elementary School, located in the Klahanie neighborhood, is a sign all is not lost in the world of the printed books. Earlier this month, the school celebrated the opening of its brand new library.
“Kids come in and go, ‘Oooh,’ with the big eyes,” said Mary Berry, who is her 22nd year as the school librarian.
The library, which was funded by a 2006 Issaquah School District bond, was moved from the middle of the school to the rear northeast corner — the spot where the old office used to be.
The office was moved to the center of the school, providing an easier entry for guests, students and parents at the front of the building.
While logistically the move made sense, it also provided a more open and free-flowing area for the library.
“You want a library to be an inviting place and so with the newness and the freshness of it, people walk in and the first word is, ‘wow,’ said principal Sue McPeak.
Along with higher ceilings, there is a computer area, story area and teaching area. The old library used to be divided up by computers and had no real flow, Berry said.
“Here, everything is in continuous order, which makes it a lot easier for kids to find things,” she said.
The new library is also popular with teachers, who access it frequently to use one of the district’s new book rooms.
“I see it as the hub,” McPeak said. “I think not just for the kids, but that staff and parents get use of it is really important.”
Berry teaches between four and eight classes a day to the school’s 521 students. She said that while she places a high value on books, technology also has its place. In fact, she hopes to acquire eBooks in the near future.
“It’s not a substituting digital for books, but it’s in addition to,” she said.
McPeak agreed, noting there will never be a substitution for actually picking up and reading it.
“You’ve got your technology and that’s very important and that’s very critical, but you don’t ever want to not have books in the hands of kids,” she said.
Challenger Elementary School second grader Megan Krug looks to pass of the pointer to the next student during an exercise conducted by librarian Mary Berry.Contact Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor Kevin Endejan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-391-0363, ext. 5054.