Reading transforms in the midst of pandemic

The LRC has had to adapt to the e-learning environment, but books have become more prominent than ever.


Hayley Breines

The LRC’s Independent Novels page is a student-accessible resource to get into reading.

Hayley Breines, A&E & News Editor

When thinking of something that brings peace and tranquility to silence a loud mind, books and libraries don’t normally come to mind. When we think of books, the immediate response goes towards the English essay we haven’t quite finished, or how difficult the prose in Les Mis was that turned us away from classic literature for as long as we can remember. Libraries are a background noise in our communities that are helpful every once in a while, but not something we go to for solace. 

Yet, opening a book or going to the library provides little moments of peace in an increasingly loud and overwhelming world. Using the worlds built within a book provides a welcome distraction from the real world and can improve mental health. However, due to COVID, libraries have been stripped from the communities we all live in. Some might not notice this shift, while others have had to make readjustments to their routines to replace the functions and the feelings a library can provide. The GCHS Learning Resource Center, led by Jennifer Naes, has had to shift the LRC experience into a more digital-friendly environment.

“We had a reading contest in October, and we are also doing a virtual Battle of the Books, which we’ve been participating in for the last two years… in addition to just really trying to beef up our ebooks and making sure that we have basically everything that kids are asking for,” Naes said.

However, librarian responsibilities run deeper behind the scenes than many realize. Behind-the-scenes work with teachers is another chief purpose of the LRC, and those responsibilities have shifted digital also.

“Working with classes, working with kids doing research, and stuff like that- those responsibilities haven’t changed very much. We’re still doing a lot of outreach, working with teachers, a lot of the behind the scenes stuff I think that people don’t really realize… Some things have definitely changed, but some things have just kind of shifted, so we’re just more digital now,” Naes stated.

The LRC is still an accessible library resource to borrow ebooks and audiobooks, as well as giving out recommendations for students to read. The e-Learning independent reading resource website is a great tool to check out ebooks, audiobooks, or get recommendations through the LRC. With winter break fast approaching, picking up a book is not a bad idea. Lists like the Goodreads Choice Awards booklist and the Abraham Lincoln List provide numerous recommendations of new and noteworthy books to get back into reading. 

Hopefully, recommendations and conversations surrounding books will come back into the face to face realm, since the connection created over a book is a unique and savored one by many.

“Nothing can compare to having kids walk into the library and being able to talk with them to have those one-on-one conversations and find out how they like the book, what you read over the summer, [etc.]. So we are obviously hoping as library staff to be able to get back to that at some point so we can see you guys and find out all the fun things you’ve been reading over break or over this long quarantine period,” Naes said.

Top 5 books to read during winter break: