Packing the Shelves at the NHS Library


Aya Takase-Songui

BOOKED AND BUSY: Peter Fatzaun decorates a new book display.

Lucy Kim, Junk Editor

When Northwood High School librarian Peter Fatzaun came to campus in 2020, he brought with him the smell of fresh books, extreme budget-negotiation skills and a dream for a library. Last year, Fatzaun launched his grand-scale project to bring books into the Media Center for the students, feeling the media center could offer students more.

“The first thing that kind of made me start thinking was, well, how about all the students that want a place to hang out, a safe place?” Fatzaun said. “The library wasn’t quite there yet.”

He immediately hit the first roadblock—building an entire library filled with books can be expensive. Before enacting his vision, he first had to convince the Northwood Administration and PTSA to grant him a budget for books.

He pointed out that we had some catch-up to do—every other school in the district had a library with a sizable collection of books that were in high circulation among students.

“And well, if another high school is offering something that’s of interest, why can’t we do something like that?” Fatzaun said.

 But Fatzaun knew the $3,000 budget wasn’t going to cut it. Brand new middle and high schools in the area usually receive $85,000 to $120,000 to start a collection for their libraries. After some mad negotiation, he ended up with $20,000, enough to purchase about 2,000 books. 

When the library opened in August of 2021, only 11 books were checked out the first month. This year, in the same amount of time, the number rose to 371. Those numbers strengthened Fatzaun’s cause, and the Northwood administration and PTSA strengthened their support. With additional funding, Fatzaun made more purchases for high-interest books.

“Pretty much, it’s what students want,” Fatzaun said. “I think, in order to get the interest, we have to think about our students first.”

Students can leave suggestions for books that they would like to see in the library on the Northwood High School library website or leave suggestions in a fishbowl in the Media Center. Fatzuan researches trending books extensively before ordering. 

Although nearly 3,000 books were checked out last year, Fatzaun aims for higher numbers. A marketing plan is already in action, including ASB promoting the 2,050 new books waiting to be checked out on their Instagram page. 

“Trying to make the library a welcoming place for all, I think that’s the goal,” Fatzaun said. “The vision is for everybody to be comfortable coming here and feel accepted.”