James Neton borrows most of his reading material from work.
“Right now I’m reading ‘Helmet for My Pillow,’ by Robert Leckie. It’s excellent,” Neton said.
Neton is the librarian at Moffat County High School. The library, Neton said, is off to a good start.
Since the beginning of the school year, Neton has purchased 200 new books, won a raffle for $500 worth of new books and started a book exchange program for the library.
Neton said he bought the 200 books out of his budget. He typically buys books three times a year.
“Our library has been well supported, in terms of budget, over the years,” Neton said. “For a high school our size — 600 students — we have an excellent library. There are a lot of schools our size that don’t have a library with 17,000 books.”
The $500 raffle was through www.readingwarehouse.com, Neton said.
The company buys overruns from publishers and sells those books to libraries and other groups, Neton said.
“You can buy a box of fiction,” he said. “You just buy a box…and you don’t even know what’s in it, but it’s cheap. It’s like 25 hardcover fiction books for $100.”
Despite the company’s deals, Neton said he made individual choices when spending the $500.
The book exchange, Neton said, allows students to swap books permanantely.
“We had teachers donate a bunch of books,” Neton said. “So students can just take a book and keep it … as long as they put one of their own on the shelf.”
Neton said he vets exchanged books to make sure they’re appropriate for high school readers. He said he uses a simple technique to make decisions.
“I have four kids and I think, ‘Would I want my kids reading this at a high school library?,’” Neton explained.
Neton said he rarely encounters questionable material, however.
“(MCHS) kids are mature,” Neton said. “They can handle mature subject matter.”
Neton said it’s also rare for Moffat County parents to question the material the library houses.
“I think people trust us to get good material in. And we do,” Neton said. “We get a wide range of reading material in that they can use and enjoy.”
Neton has lived in Moffat County for 13 years, he has been librarian for four years. He originally taught Spanish and U.S. History at MCHS, but then started considering a master’s degree.
At the time, he wasn’t sure what field he wanted to study.
“The previous librarian who was working here had a great library, great resources, and I used it a lot,” Neton said. “I started to think it might be fun to run a library — to help teachers get resources and help kids get the books they want.”
Neton said foot traffic in the library has increased somewhat over four years.
“It’s kind of a slight climb upward,” he said. “We checkout about 8,000 books a year.”
As to what kinds of books students want to read, Neton said the preferences between boys and girls are widely divergent.
“Guys get into a variety of stuff like Dean Koontz and C. J. Box,” Neton said. “They’ll also read some nonfiction and fiction about the military.”
Girls, Neton said, like vampires.
Ben McCanna can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.