BELTON, TX — There’s nothing quite like the sound of a hard-copy book cracking as you open its cover, or the smell of the decades-old pages filled with adventures and story lines.
But as Jordan Petter, a librarian at Lake Belton High School, will tell you, somewhere along the line, students tend to lose the love of literature.
“That’s their line, 'I hate reading,'” she said. “Well, you just haven't found the right book yet. You haven't found the right author. You haven’t found the right book. You haven't found the right genre."
As a bookkeeper, Petter strives to change that narrative.
It’s a role she stepped into this past year, and what a year to do so during the pandemic.
“We are very COVID friendly here,” Petter said. “We try our best to keep it out of our library, keep it out of, out of harm's way and have the kids safe.”
She’s among an army of educators working on the frontlines to keep kids safe.
“We've done a lot of table cleaning. We quarantine our books,” explained Susan Wenberg, a librarian from Belton High School. “And that way, we just feel like we've done what we can to keep them safe.”
That safety is going beyond Clorox and sanitizer. In some cases, they save a child's life.
”I've had many students over the years come back and say, 'You know, if I hadn't had that library to come to every day, I don't know if I would have made it,'” said Wenberg.
It’s safe to say being a librarian is more than about reading, and a library is more than just a home for books.
“This library has changed the heart of the school and added to it,” Petter said. “It really has for so many kids.”