Mark Melchior, MLIS, served as Library Director at Cushing Academy from August 2014 to July 2016.
In 2009, the head of school at Cushing Academy announced that the school’s library would remove all its printed materials and become an all-digital library ‘for the 21st century.’ In 2014, I was hired (under new leadership) and asked to rebalance the library’s offerings and restore print resources. The challenge was both intriguing and daunting. The opportunity to build a collection from the ground up was certainly appealing. At the same time, I knew it would not be a fresh start. What might appear at first blush as a straightforward exercise in purchasing and cataloging held a much broader challenge: to rebuild damaged relationships and forge reconciliation among members of the Cushing community surprised, angered and frustrated by the changes that began in 2009. This is an account of my work to restore a print collection and the standing of the library in the school community.
Amanda Lawrence is a graduate student at Simmons GSLIS
E-books are meant to have a place in every school library; however, getting them to that place may be a bit challenging at first. And once e-books have found their place, it bears mentioning that their check-out statistics may pale in comparison to their print counterparts. That’s not to say that students aren’t utilizing them, some are, but, in my experience, I’ve found that those students are often the exception and not the rule.