Tea Intermediate School

by Serena Gutnik, Librarian

Photos reprinted with permission of author and students.

I am the librarian at Tea Intermediate School (grades 4-6) in Tea, SD.  My position is part-time, so I have to fit all of my lessons and in-school work into just three days - Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Our library's budget had been completely cut this year and we despaired of having any new materials.  In such a small town (pop. 4,000), there is little extra-curricular opportunity for young people. 

I started a library club about 6 weeks ago and thought that I might get 10-20 students, who want something fun to do after school once a week. Within two weeks, I had 102 library club members; that's 1/3 of the student body here!  I thought we could meet every week, but the library can only hold about thirty students at a time, so I split the club into four groups, R, E, A, and D; this seems to work well.  I have a schedule reminder on the library webpage.

My little school raised $950 dollars in one week with a Class Coin Challenge that went towards Scholastic's One for Books! Program. I am also incredibly proud of a dedicated group of sixth graders, who helped with our Scholastic book fair, craft fundraisers, and shelving books after school. I am blown away by the spirit and generosity of my students and hope our success can encourage other small schools to get creative with their "fundraisers."  Anything is possible!

When Ms. Gutnik asked her sixth graders’ for their opinions about the library club, here is what they had to say:

Sara – Mrs. Miles’ 6th grade class

            “If I had to describe the library club, 3 words I would use are: fun, new, and exciting.  Ms. G is like, the best librarian I’ve ever had.  She is fun, nice and creative.  I think we have a special bond.  The library is better in a way.  She has the best taste in books.  Now I love to read.  The club is amazing and very successful.  So many people love it.  I really love it.  I love helping, and volunteering.  Ms. G. and this club brought out more of the best of me.  I work harder so my mom won’t make me quit.  I love it.”

Kayla– Mrs. Row’s 6th grade class

            “I really like library club, it’s really a lot of fun.  I think library club is a great idea.  I think I read very well.  I was going to mention that I’m actually reading to the 4th graders in Mrs. Deibert’s class.

Dawson – Mr. Willemssen’s 6th grade class

            “I think that the TLC (Tea Library Club) is awesome.  I think Ms. G and all of the kids have done a great job.  We have raised a lot of money for books for our library.  Every dollar we get, Scholastic gives one book to a child in the U.S..  We have a lot of students in the TLC.  I am so greatfull that we started the TLC.

Questions about this article or to contact Serena Gutnik, you can email her at Serena.Gutnik@k12.sd.us.