Farmer’s library is more than just a place to read


Photo by Daniel Graves

Mara Farmer, GRC Librarian

“I don’t read.”

Those words are muttered by tons of students every year, and you can’t go to any English class without hearing that from at least someone.

Knowing that, how would a librarian keep students interested in actually entering the library itself? 

“The thing I loved most about teaching was connecting with the students and getting to know them personally, and I still want to have that connection as a librarian,” says Farmer. “I want to in every way seem different than the stereotypical mean librarian who’s always shushing people. To be the opposite of that, I want to get to know students, connect with them, and make them always feel welcome and comfortable in the library.”

Due to COVID, the library was previously pretty limited. Mrs. Farmer is ready to destroy this obstacle now that the library is open again.

“Prior to COVID, I feel like I was really successful at making the library a place where people wanted to be. Then COVID hit and the library couldn’t be as open and accessible as I had made it when I first became librarian,” explains Farmer.  “The library was back open at the beginning of this year, but I was on maternity leave for the first three months of this school year, so now I’m trying to get students back in the library like they were before.”

Photo by Daniel Graves

One way she plans on having students involved is by having it open in the morning as it used to be. If you get to school earlier than 8:35, you don’t have to go straight to class, and can visit the library instead.

 “If people have work to do, or just want somewhere to sit and eat breakfast or play games or just chat in the morning, they can and should absolutely come to the library,” encourages Farmer. “And of course we’re open for checking out books then, too.”

Farmer keeps students informed and entertained by using social media. The library has an Instagram (@grclibrary), and Farmer now includes TikTok videos on her page as well.

“Unless a student has a teacher that brings their class to the library, they won’t really get the chance to talk to me or visit the library,” says Farmer. “Instagram allows me to connect with students whether they frequent the library in person or not.”

Farmer also interests the school by having cultural book displays throughout the year.

 “I try to draw attention to diverse books through seasonal displays for different heritage months. Reading diverse books helps people to have more empathy for people different than them and to feel like they’re not alone,” Farmer says. “I think it’s important to celebrate culture through literature so I really try to do that in the library.”

Mrs. Farmer’s definite favorite part of her job is making connections with students. 

“I love that I can get to know more students than just the students that were in my classroom as a teacher,” shares Farmer, who enjoys having the opportunity to see every student, a luxury she didn’t get as a teacher. 

Even if you ‘don’t read,’ you can still visit the library, and Farmer has a true knack for recommending books anyways, transforming non-readers into avid bookworms. 

“I love reading and sharing books I love with students. Finding a book that a student who normally doesn’t like to read can connect with and actually enjoy reading is such a rewarding part of my job.”