KEIZER, OR (KPTV) - This school year, amid a pandemic, FOX 12 is regularly going inside Keizer Elementary to share the stories of teachers, staff and students firsthand, in a series called "Keizer Strong."
FOX 12 most recently spoke with the school's librarian about how she's keeping kids reading through the pandemic.
Even though kids are back inside the classroom, not everything is back to normal.
“Well, my job is still different," said Tracy Peterson. "I mean my job is a librarian, but right now, I can do a little bit of that. I can still get books in kids’ hands, but not in the traditional sense where they come to the library as a special for 30 minutes, once a week."
Peterson is the librarian at Keizer Elementary, where she spent most of the year adapting to teaching and caring for kids online.
She set up an online classroom, where kids and parents could go into the school's library catalog and place books on hold. She would then personally drop off the books in sealed bags to their homes.
"Just flexibility is the name of the game, right," said Peterson.
The virtual classroom is still used to this day, filled with online stories, videos and other activities. But now if someone checks out a book, Peterson said it's delivered to a child's classroom.
"So, that’s one way I can still have the library be part of their day," said Peterson. "But again, it’s not the same. Not everybody is checking out books."
Peterson said it's best to keep kids in the classroom right now and limit any potential exposure in more common areas, like the gym, music room and library.
But she hopes they'll return to the library soon, a place she calls the heart of the school.
“I just miss that one-on-one with kids," said Peterson. “And I’m kind of who all the kids come to and it’s just a very rewarding job to find a kid who really is not too excited about reading, and then get them into a book or even a series that they really enjoy and make a reader out of them, that’s pretty exciting.”
Peterson encourages parents to use the library at Keizer right now, to help get their kids back into reading and regularly enjoying it. She said they can check out books and then designate a time to read them at home.