Freshmen Bree Harvey and Averi Bethel enjoy their first opportunity to search the stacks for books to check out. The library closed after the fire at MHS last November and remained closed until earlier this fall when Brent Dobbins took on the task of reorganizing it and serving as librarian.
At the beginning of this school year, the MHS library was chaotic. Boxed up books, disarrayed shelves, disorganization was evident throughout the entire room. The task to right the mess was not an easy one, but Brent Dobbins did not turn away.
The former middle school principal from Carrollton has stepped into the role of librarian for the school year. How Dobbins found out about the position was through his wife, Callie Dobbins, who is an instructional coach at MHS.
“I thought it would be a challenge, but one that would be fun,” said Dobbins.
Although anxious with the new field of work, Dobbins was prepared for the long road of cleaning, organizing and asking questions of fellow staff members at MHS and also other librarians in the district.
Going from being a principal to a librarian is not an easy switch, especially for someone with no experience with the media science job. But luckily for MHS, Dobbins was flexible enough to make the transition and learn as he goes to ensure the high school has access to a running library this year.
“I never pictured myself as a librarian. I thought I’d be in education, just didn’t know where,” said Dobbins.
Another problem MHS has been dealing with this year is the shortage of staff. The rush to fill spots for core subject teachers was the prime focus leading up to the school year last summer. The hiring of a librarian came after the frantic race to fill any spots that might jeopardize a student’s graduation rate.
“I think the school was in a shape where they weren’t ready to hire for that,” said Dobbins, reflecting on the reason the district hired him after the school year had already begun.
The plan for the library to open was executed quickly. It started with a soft opening, letting a few students into the area to use its properties and see where the glitches might lie. When everything ran smoothly, the library opened full time as normal for students to use daily. Students now have access to desktop computers and printers from previous years as well as TVs installed for educational purposes.
Finding a book in the library is always a difficult task for students who don't know what they are looking for or don’t know how to find what they want. But looking for books won’t be a challenge for returning students who know their way around the MHS library.
“It’ll look somewhat different. But overall it should look similar to past years,” said Dobbins, explaining the layout of the library for the upcoming year.
Other librarians within the district have also been in contact with Dobbins to help him adjust to his new duties in the MHS library, helping to order new books, update newspaper subscriptions and overall being there to answer any questions Dobbins had.
The role was not one of ease to fill when Dobbins agreed to become Marshall High School’s librarian, but the importance of having one was weighing over everyone’s heads. High school students are excited to be back in their library once again and are ready to get back to the normality they once had.
“I’m excited to be able to sit in the library and read,” said Senior Alexis Neff. “It’s just so comfy and a sort of safe place to relax and enjoy a good book.”