Geneva Library program delivers to Amish schools

Authored by Jim Langham on Nov 30, 2012

Amish children run to greet Geneva’s Randy and Rose Bryan and Jan Stahly as they deliver books for borrow to 17 different Amish schools in the county.
The deliveries are part of a major program organized and provided by the Geneva Branch of the Adams Public Library and headed up by Geneva Library director Rose Bryan.
Children receive books requested by teachers and students and organized by library employees Bryan and Stahly to be taken to schools in two shifts. The Geneva staff members delivered books to nine schools on Thursday. The final eight schools on the route will be delivered next week. Then, in a few weeks, books will be called back in, checked over and prepared to be placed on shelves again.
Bryan said that some of the most popular book series include the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Boxcar Children. Recently, Bryan said, one teacher requested a book teaching students about recognizing and understanding the growth of mushrooms.
“We deliver to 17 schools,” said Bryan. “We take out 1,700 books right off the stacks. We check them in and out like any other books. Six weeks later, we check in the books again.”
Bryan said that she goes through the stacks and picks out books for each delivery.
The librarian said that at the teacher’s requests, none of the books are romance novels, western or bear any other controversial nature, including anything with horror.
“During the summer we send out note cards to every Amish school we know about,” said Bryan. “If there is some problem with a book, we want them to tell us about it. We ask them to return the post cards by a certain date in August so we know what to start selecting for them.”
Other requests, said Stahly, are children’s books written by such authors as Beverly Lewis and Wanda Branstetter.
In return for their service, Amish schools have invited staff members from the Geneva Branch Library of Adams Public Libraries to their Christmas program practice at school.
“They do lots and lots of recitations, like what we used to do in our Christmas programs at church,” said Bryan. “One practice lasted two hours and it still wasn’t over.”
Schools where books are delivered include White Oak Ridge, Spring Meadows, Clearview, Fairview, Country Side, Pleasant Valley, Pleasant Mills, Shady Lane, Hidden Valley, Lincoln, Prairie, Maple Leaf, Wabash Valley, Hickory Grove, South Adams, Jefferson and Twin Oak.
Stahly said that books are divided according to the grades of the schools, usually grades 1-4 and 5-8.
Bryan said that in the spring after school is out, Amish teachers are invited to a luncheon to help critique that year’s book delivery program and make suggestions for the coming year.
“I’m glad that we can offer this service,” said Stahly. “These kids probably never get into a library. We are grateful for all of the support we get in this program.”
“I get excited when I see the students crowd around the books when they come in,” said Bryan. “We put the tubs of books on a table in the back of the school. The kids go right to them and start going through the books.
“I’m really glad the library board lets us do this,” Bryan said. “It’s not a cheap program. It costs $6,000 to $7,000 to do this, but when we see how excited the kids are, it makes it more than worth it.”

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