By Elizabeth DiGennaro
“Do you like RED?” asks the display in the window of the Library Media Center. Contrary to what one might think, this “RED” is not referring to the color, or even the Taylor Swift album. Instead, this sign is advertising the RED club, a new addition to the J-DHS extracurricular community.
“I heard about a similar idea from a librarian working at a middle school in the area, who has a group of students that come in to help with tech things in the library, which was very successful. I wanted to grow and mature the idea to a high school level, and see if students were interested,” says Mary Panek, RED Club Advisor and librarian.
Ms. Panek, with the help of English teacher Trinity Conner, then recruited interested students at the end of the 2012-13 school year. “We emailed back and forth over the summer to discuss ideas for the upcoming school year,” says sophomore and club member August Kissel. The club was originally supposed to be named the “Spark” club, but the name was abandoned after the group formerly known as InAchord was renamed Spark. “The name ‘RED’ comes from the word ‘read’ and the school colors,” says sophomore and club member Emily Greenway.
So what exactly does the RED club do? “Students use their creativity to work to bring new energy into the library. I want it to be much more fun than just putting away books,” says Ms. Panek. In fact, with RED club, students can suggest independent or group projects to work on to improve the library atmosphere. Examples of this include setting up library displays or writing literary recommendations. “We want to make the library more of a place for students. We want to improve the website, showcase teen pics, and have book swaps to make the library more accessible,” says Kissel. “It’s a great way to influence a place that most people visit regularly,” adds Greenway.
In addition to these projects, RED club members can also work as tech interns, on the advisory committee, or participate in a book club. “There’s a tech piece for people who want to know the technical components of the library. They will be the first line of contact to troubleshoot problems, such with printers or databases,” says Ms. Panek. Ms. Panek is also hoping that the club will create tutorials on how to do basic things, which may help teachers who have already taught them. “(RED club) is a way for students to share their talents and skills, and feel like they’re contributing to the school,” says Ms. Panek.
Students interested in joining RED club can contact Ms. Panek to learn more about meetings. “I would love to have a core group of students who enjoy being creative and bringing new energy into the library,” she says. Other information about the club can be found on the school library website, tinyurl.com/jdlibrary. RED members highly recommend this club. “I love that you have the freedom to choose your own projects. It’s a pretty laid back club,” says Kissel. “I like coming up with creative ideas that will benefit the school,” agrees Greenway. Ms. Panek’s favorite part of RED is “seeing that there are interested kids, and getting to work with and know them.”
Clearly, we should get REDdy for what this new club has in store.