It used to be that Lawrence elementary teachers sent their students off to the library during their planning time, giving school librarians practically no flexibility in planning their schedules.
But today, teachers and librarians work side by side, allowing them to make the students' trip to the library relevant to what they are learning in class.
That change is one of many that Assistant Supt. Bob Taylor has helped bring about over the last 15 years. In appreciation of his efforts, the Kansas Association of School Librarians recently tabbed him for the 1993 Distinguished Service Award.
Lawrence school librarians nominated Taylor for the award.
"Bob Taylor has been a really effective spokesperson for librarians," Phyllis Watkins, librarian at Cordley School, said. "He has helped to make the library a more central part of the school, rather than an auxiliary room."
TAYLOR HAS worked in the district since 1960 but only began supervising libraries about 15 years ago. Taylor said one of the most important steps the district took was to establish a library at each school. He said some schools used to have a room full of books, but nothing resembling a library.
Although newer schools have been built with libraries, additions had to be made to schools such as Centennial and Hillcrest so they could have libraries.
Taylor said he remembers when Pinckney School had a library but no librarian. Now library staffing in the district has increased so that every school has at least a part-time librarian.
The district over the years also has added staff to teach art, vocal music and physical education. That means classroom teachers now use the time students are in those classes for planning instead of the time their students are in the library.
Margie Coggins, librarian at Kennedy School, said that allows the librarian and the teacher to tie library visits to what students are doing in class. For a recent culture fair, Coggins pulled together the fairy tales and literature of the countries students were studying.
"It's a team effort," Coggins said.
AMONG OTHER changes Taylor has helped bring about:
The district's secondary schools all have computerized card catalogs and computerized circulation systems. Plans now are being made to expand that technology to elementary schools.
The district this school year hired Arvina Lumley, the district's first full-time coordinator of library and media services. Taylor said that with all that's going on in the district's libraries, "you reach a point where someone needs to be in charge of that."
As for the Distinguished Service Award, Taylor said, "I appreciate the recognition. I've tried to be supportive and helpful. But the really important people are the ones who are out there making things work."