Donated books help AP students revive leisure reading

Student library encourages joys of reading


Junior Isabelle Weiss checks out a copy of Frat Girl, by Kiley Roache, during her fourth block English class. Photo by Katie Kerrigan.

Unlike typical decorations in most classrooms, the walls of the AP English 11 classroom are lined with books. AP English teacher Tasha Hurst offers a selection of 215 different novels, including fiction, nonfiction, and everything in between.

“Last year, in my English class, I had students who really did not like to read. So, I decided, if a student does not like to read, he or she hasn’t found a book that makes them feel something yet,” said Hurst.

Students went to the library and checked out a book of choice. Then, her class had 15 minutes of reading each day. By the end of the year, a class of 22 students had read more than 170 books. This new approach inspired Hurst to further her ideas by creating a class library.

“I knew I wanted to create a class library because the school library has gone a bit more towards technology, and the books are a bit more few and far between,” said Hurst. “I think that when a student has a book in a classroom right next to them, they’re way more likely to take it than if they have to go to the library since they’re just available.”

The donations began with books brought from home. After an inquiry on Facebook for used book donations, the library gained traction.

“It was insane. People were dropping books off in droves. Then a former student from Ocean Lakes reached out and said, ‘Send me a list of books you want.’ So, I opened up a google form to students and maybe 50 books were submitted. She bought every single one of the books that was requested,” said Hurst.

Since then, the library has thrived. Students check out books on a log and leave reviews and recommendations on a whiteboard on the wall. Books are checked out at a surprisingly fast rate, and students typically finish one and check out another immediately afterward.

“It’s so cool,” said junior John Reed. “She has so many different books that we can check out. It’s really impressive.”

Hurst hopes that the library will continue to help foster a love of reading in her students.

“I think it all comes down to this: students who don’t like to read, people who don’t like to read, they just haven’t found a book that touches them yet. That’s my goal, to help students. If they don’t learn anything else from me I hope they’ve at least found joy in a story, in someone else’s story,” said Hurst.