THS library releases book ‘wish list’

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

For three years, staff members at the Thompson High School library have been struggling in the face of state budget cuts to give their students the most up-to-date resources available.

But THS Media Specialist Greg Stone said the lack of funding has helped create new relationships between the school and supporters in the community.

“I’ve been at the library for three years, and it’s been three years since we had any state funding at all,” Stone said. “The school used to get, I think, about $20,000 a year. To go from $20,000 to zero is hard.

“We are trying more innovative ways to generate those funds,” he added.

Budget cuts hit high school libraries harder than media centers in elementary and middle schools, he said.

“It’s harder to generate funds on a high school level, because some of the programs like book fairs that are successful at younger-level schools don’t work that well on the high school level,” Stone said.

THS recently has benefited from grants from the Alabaster City Council and state legislators Cam Ward and April Weaver.

The grants have allowed the library to purchase a few Nook e-readers and buy several much-needed books, but library employees soon will team up with a local book store to help shoppers more directly fill the school’s shelves.

Stone and other THS faculty members and students recently worked with the Alabaster Books-A-Million store to compile a book “wish list.”

The school is working to distribute the list now, and is planning to kick off the program at the store on Dec. 1.

Through the program, which will run from Dec. 1, 2011-Feb. 29, 2012, shoppers will be able to purchase a book on the list at the store. Books-A-Million will then collect the donated books and give them directly to the school.

All books purchased for the school will be discounted 20 percent, Stone said.

“We wanted to create a list so people could buy books they knew we would need,” Stone said. “Anything we can think of that will bring new books into the library is a good thing.”

To view the complete “wish list,” click here: THS library book wish list.