WHITE EARTH — Many people have come together to reopen the school library at the Circle of Life Academy (COLA) in White Earth. While most classrooms at the Academy circulate books, staff and students were missing one central place to gather and read, so they decided to reopen the school library, which was closed several years ago when media specialist Sue Walther retired.
Reopening a library is no small task, but people key to reopening the library were motivated.
“It’s for the children — already, we’re circulating books to every student,” said Sharon Stalboeger at the library reopening last fall. "Some students are reading everything they can."
Instrumental to a library reopening is the expertise required to code books for cataloging and circulation. Chris McArthur, a retired media specialist from the Waubun school district, took up the challenge and volunteered to codify and organize all the books in the library.
As a result of the joint effort, students are now able to select rich material to read on their own. Without McArthur’s expertise, it would have been much more difficult to start over.
McArthur was one of the first pioneers to establish the North Star Library Consortium, a union catalog for schools in the state. McArthur has worked closely with Northern Lights Library Network over the years to ensure that schools have access to library collections through the consortium.
The library has an admirable collection of Ojibwe titles that remained in the library throughout its transitions. Its location, overlooking a small lake, and full floor to ceiling windows with supporting stone beams, make it a true treasure.