Despite some book loss, media center thrives


The Chapman media center is full of resources for students to use, from computers to printers to, most importantly, books, which are free for students to check out. 

Unfortunately, not all of the books make their way back to the shelves. 

“The last five or six years, we have roughly 25-35 books a year that are truly lost,” Media Specialist Amy Ballentine said. “Books that are showing in our system but that are not on our shelves.”

Ballentine and Media Assistant Ashley Settle take inventory every spring, usually right after spring break, so that they can go through and find out what is missing. 

There’s not a whole lot that can be done about stolen books, but there are a couple of precautions that Ballentine takes in order to prevent books from being taken without being checked out. 

“We like to have student IDs as we check out books, and Mrs. Settle and I are the only ones who check books out,” Ballentine said. “We don’t let our student assistants do that because we don’t want there to be any question about who had what book at one time and whether or not it was checked out.”

Chapman’s media center offers plenty of paper and online resources that are available for students to utilize whenever they need, and which are constantly in use. 

Many of these online resources are now available to students through their Chromebooks, but Ballentine says that this hasn’t changed how much people come in and spend time in the media center. 

“A lot of the students that come into our space come in just to be in our space, not necessarily to use our resources,” Ballentine said. “Our numbers have stayed strong and consistent, and our numbers in terms of book loss have not changed.”

Despite the potential for book loss, Ballentine hopes students will continue to come to the media center to explore what all it has to offer. Because of current restrictions, some students may not be fully aware of what all is available.

Typically, when eighth graders tour Chapman before they enter into their freshman year, they get the opportunity to see the media center and hear about what it offers, but, because of COVID-19, they weren’t able to. 

“We do have orientations that we try to share with all of our English classes, and then I go and talk to ninth-grade math classes about what we do and what we offer,” Ballentine said. 

While the media center is always there to supply whatever resources students need, they also host a variety of events that are open to students just for fun, like their monthly book club, Fun Fridays and so many more. 

“In a normal year, we have so many programs going on all the time that it can be overwhelming,” Ballentine said. “We put up a poster in our window every month that talks about all of the different activities that we have going on.”

Even though the limits to what activities they could have in the media center were unsure for a while, Ballentine is ready to get back to normal with the hands-on class lessons and some of the other activities they weren’t able to have this year. 

“We are doing stuff all the time, and we love having people in here,” Ballentine said.