The library’s newest edition

The older generation of stereotypical librarians believe in a quiet work environment, they wear wired glasses, cardigans, and are always reading. Now although she still wears a cardigan, North high school’s new librarian Gretchen Baijnuath wants to build a place where kids want to be. 

Baijnuath started her career 25 years ago at Abraham Lincoln high school in Council Bluffs as a journalism instructor. From there she became the journalism advisor at Gretna high school and most previously Bryan high school. 

One of Baijnuath’s goals before retirement was to become a librarian, so in 2021 she received her certifications. Since she always knew that she wanted to work at the high school level, when a librarian position opened up at North, she made sure to grab it as fast as possible. 

“I like the high school students and the level of research that is done at the high school level,” Baijunath said.     

Baijnuaths main goal is to open engagement in the library and get students to check out more books. 

“I think there are a lot of students that didn’t know they could come into the library,” Baijnuath said.  

In order to reach her goals Baijnuaths has been advertising through the school social media and getting in contact with teachers who can then communicate with their students. She has also put out jigsaw puzzles and a coloring station that students are able to enjoy while in the library. 

During the Halloween season Baijunath created a competition for students on who can draw the best jack o’ lantern. Students were able to come in and decorate a piece of paper, and then people voted on which they thought was the best. 

“We posted on social media, so we got a lot of votes from everywhere,” Baijnuath said. “One of my former students in England voted, so we [even] had a vote from England.” 

Baijunath plans on doing snow globe decorating contest for the winter season, and hopes that while people are there, they will check out a book as well. 

Since the beginning of the school year Baijunath has noticed an increase in students who come into the library. A lot of kids come in during their lunch block, if their class is loud or distracting, during their late starts or even their early outs. She has even opened the library to teachers if they want to bring their classes into the library for demonstrations or work time. 

At one-point Baijunath was stopped by a kid in the parking lot asking her to return a book. 

“I thought I was invisible as a librarian, but she recognized me getting out of my car,” Baijuanth said. 

Baijunath even says that she is beginning to regulars in the library. One of her regulars includes Araya Faulkner-Dorsey, 12. 

In the previous year’s Faulkner- Dorsey did not spend time in the library but this year she spends every other B6 there. She puts together puzzles, plays cards with her friends, does homework and colors. 

Compared to previous years Faulkner-Dorsey has never seen such an influx of people in the library.  

“i will go in there and people will be working on puzzles,” Faulkner-Dorsey said. “I have also never seen this many people check out books before.” 

Baijunath believes that the library is opening opportunities for students because they are becoming more comfortable reaching out for help. 

“Kids ask things about projects they are doing in class,” Baijuanth said. “I’m able to use my experiences or I can help them find the recourses they need.” 

This year Baijunath has held three events in the library, the first was in August and it included North alumni Adam Mohr who talked about a traditional approach to publishing. The second was in October and it was poet Anthony McPherson who is in residency at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The most current one being held in December is Dr. Cornell West who is a political activist, theologist, actor and American philosopher. 

English teacher Gina Alati who helped organize McPhersons’ poetry reading has had students attend the events and has been avidly promoting for guest speakers at North. 

“Students are getting the exposer and experience to different types of literature devices,” Alati said. 

In the library Baijunath wishes that the bookshelves were organized differently, to create a more open space. She also wishes that there was more comfortable seating, and more books to keep the collections up to date. 

“I think really, I’m somebody were to give me however much money, I would change the way the shelves are done,” Baijunath said. 

Baijunaths end goal for the library is that it will become a place where students know they can come to study, read a book, do a puzzle or just to enjoy their time at North. 

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Angie Twombly
Angie Twombly, Editor-in-Chief
My name is Angie Twombly, and I am a senior this year. What I am most excited about in Newspaper is creating a solid foundation for future writers of the North Star. A fun fact about me is that a story I produced was published on national news. 

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