Organization, hard work key to textbook room’s success

December 7, 2010 — by Will Edman and Kelly Liu

Textbook Room

On the shelves of the small textbook room in the library are roughly 31,000 textbooks, according to librarian Kevin Heyman.

Getting those books into the hands of students, repairing damage, keeping track of lost books and assessing fines, is a massive job shared by staff members and parent volunteers.

The number of textbooks have increased over the years because of the constantly evolving curriculum. The library tries to replace textbooks whenever a department needs updated ones, but it depends on the school budget, Heyman said.

According to textbook technician Nada Nacesic, one of the oldest school books is “The Scarlet Letter” for the English department. Some of “The Scarlet Letter” books are about 22-30 years old, but not all since the textbook staff buys new batches from time to time.

It takes one person to run the room most days: Macesic works in the textbook room from 8-11:30 a.m., when it is open to students, and Gordon Blancett, audio-visual technician, keeps working there after the hours it is open to students.

“Macesic is responsible for organizing and running the book room,” said Heyman. “She works very hard and is extremely effective in circulating and maintaining an inventory.”

Using student I.D. numbers, workers in the textbook room are capable of tracing every loaned textbook to a student so that none are lost. Additionally, the textbook room requires that every student turn in a “golden rod” paper for each textbook, detailing damage on the book when it is obtained so additional damage can be assessed when it is returned. Irreparable damage of a textbook can be fined from $15 to the cost of the textbook, which can run up to $180. Any form of writing in the book can be fined $3-$10. Torn or missing pages are $3 per page.

“I fix all the books that are destroyed or damaged as much as possible,” said Macesic. “[It involves] taping them, gluing them [and] putting them together. I clean [the covers] using rubbing alcohol to keep them completely clean.”

Textbooks can also be provided outside of the school year. In the summer, many students use the textbook room to check out a textbook to study courses they want to accelerate. Each textbook costs $5 to check out.
“The importance of having a textbook room that operates as smoothly as Saratoga’s cannot be underestimated,” said Heyman. “I’ve worked at three different high schools in my 22-year career, and Saratoga’s book room is by far the best.”

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