Ohio School for the Deaf Library



Established in 1829, the Ohio School for the Deaf serves students from all over Ohio who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The school has over 200 students from preschool age through high school and also offers a program for graduates called 4PLUS, which helps young adults transition to life after school.



Ohio School for the Deaf library staff Tatum Cook and Nancy Boone

Librarian Nancy Boone began her career with the school as a teacher and worked with students in elementary, junior high and high school before taking on the role of librarian. With help from Library Assistant Tatum Cook, Nancy provides opportunities and programming for all of the students at the school. Tatum joined the library staff earlier this year and is a graduate of Ohio School for the Deaf. She previously worked in the preschool. Student workers also assist with shelving and other tasks around the library.



The OSD Library is a bright, welcoming space for students to enjoy

The OSD Library was built in 2013 and features ample natural lighting, open space and plenty of room for books. Nancy was able to reduce the collection size by using more digital reference tools, but noted that the collection of graphic novels has boomed since she’s been with the library.

Class groups visit the library regularly throughout the week to check out books, work on their reading skills and enjoy story time. They provide programming for high school classes as well, such as information literacy for students studying journalism. The library maintains a flexible schedule to accommodate all levels of students and is open after school hours for the students who live on campus during the week.



Library goldfish greet visitors

Nancy and Tatum create eye-catching, fun displays to engage students, and collections are marked with bright visual aids, allowing students to easily locate materials and navigate the library. The library features a large story time area, where books are read in sign language and acted out by Nancy and Tatum for the enjoyment of the students.



The history of Ohio School for the Deaf is part of the deaf collection

The library maintains a large collection of deaf materials, including books and videos related to deafness, sign language, education and culture. The library also offers DVDs and materials developed by the Shared Reading Project and designed to help parents and tutors of deaf children effectively share books with their children.

The fun environment, special collection and range of services provided by the staff make the library at Ohio School for the Deaf incredibly special.


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Back to School

It’s hard to believe summer is coming to an end and school will start again in a few short weeks. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to meet with wonderful school and academic librarians from a variety of institutions.

We thought it would be fun to look back and to catch up with some of our friends at school libraries to learn about their plans for the 2017-18 school year.

Dr. Christina Dorr, media specialist at Hilliard Weaver Middle School, is ramping up for the school year with Cat Days, a two-day orientation that helps students explore the building, learn their schedules and pick up their school books and iPads. The library helps manage the school’s one 2 one program, offering students technical support for their iPads. Once school is in session, Dr. Dorr will provide library orientation classes to incoming middle schoolers and refresh upperclassmen on the library’s role. She provides the students with information about how to access the library’s collections, check out material and ebooks, and opportunities to volunteer and participate in library events.

In October, the school will welcome award winning author Jason Reynolds. In preparation for the event, students have been reading his books and some even met over the summer discuss his works at the local Starbucks.  Dr. Dorr is working in collaboration with other teachers to engage the students in anticipation of the event and has planned a number of fun activities that will excite them make for fantastic event.

Dr. Dorr is also looking forward to working with student groups, including the book club, Books and Brownies, and the newly established Gay/Straight Alliance. Dr. Dorr is enthusiastic and energized for the new school year. Her students are sure to have a fantastic year!

Windermere Elemetary School librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn is excited to begin another school year too! Her summer activities have included efforts to keep students reading year-round with the use of social media and in-person book chats. Her summer reading included “Refugee” by Alan Gratz and “Return to Sender” by Julia Alvarez, middle grade stories that tackle issues in today’s world. Shannon shared that this reading can be used to help approach tough topics and start important conversations with youth.

The new school year promises plenty of excitement for Windermere Elementary. Shannon has been working on new curriculum for her students to help improve their information literacy skills (and avoid “fake news”), digital citizenship and responsible technology use. Shannon has partnered with the youth services librarian at Upper Arlington Public Library to provide a story hour for kindergartners and their families. She will work with students of all grades to engage them and reintroduce them to the library.

In April, the district will welcome author and storyteller Mac Barnett. Library lessons will help prepare and engage students for this exciting event. Shannon is also organizing a family reading program, inviting students and their families to read Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. The program includes activities and contests and will commence with a viewing of the movie. Shannon’s excitement for the year to come is contagious – her students are in for a fun school year!

Thank you to all that are creating learning centers of excellence–we wish everyone a fantastic year!  Additionally, check out these other amazing school & academic libraries we’ve featured:

CCAD Packard Library

Columbus State Community College Library

Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School

Leigh Bonds & OSU Libraries

Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library

The Ohio State University Fine Arts Library

Oberlin College Libraries

Oberlin College Conservatory Library

OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

OSU Byrd Polar Archive

OSU Historic Costume and Textiles Collection

Pontifical College Josephinum Library

Weaver Middle School Media Center

The Hilliard Weaver Middle School‘s Media Center is vibrant partner within the school and community.  Located in the northwest corner of Central Ohio, Hilliard Weaver Middle School serves approximately 880 seventh and eighth graders.


Weaver Middle School students at the end of the school day

The media center’s schedule is flexible, no two days are the same.  On the day we toured, we witnessed a flurry of independent academic focus groups working on various projects and studying.  The library has students three periods a day, and teachers also bring their student groups.  Twenty computer stations are spread throughout the space, including a computer lab, and separate rooms for fiction (Cat Lounge), a makerspace (Cat Lab), and teacher’s workroom enhance the library.  Student peer volunteers host an awesome Genius Bar to assist fellow students with their district-issued iPads.

The library (Cat Zone) was overhauled three years ago. New furniture was installed, and upcycled bookshelves created a more open environment. Much of the eliminated reference section is now accessed digitally through the media center’s website. Throughout the library, one can see the imprint of students. In collaboration with Weaver’s art teachers, the media center celebrates the work of its middle school students.


Dr. Christina Dorr with Jason Reynold’s “As Brave As You Are”

My primary goal is to create a welcoming environment for everyone. – Dr. Christina Dorr

Dr. Christina Dorr, Ph.D. is an experienced professional whose career spans over 25 years within the Hilliard City Schools.  For the past three years, she has helped Weaver Middle School to reach its academic goals through programs and partnerships.  In addition to her work within the school, Dr. Dorr is an instructor at Kent State University’s School of Library & Information Science, and she has served on several American Library Association book award committees, including the committee for the prestigious Coretta Scott King Book Awards.


Teen Tech Week, Books & Brownies, regional competitions like Battle of the Books, community partnerships to bring celebrated authors like Jason Reynolds, collaboration with Columbus Metropolitan Library Hilliard Branch, supporting lunch programming like Weaver’s Got Talent, hosting after school clubs like Yearbook, and so much more…The Hilliard Weaver Middle School Media Center, Dr. Dorr and the center’s volunteers have created a rich environment for exploration, discovery and learning for students, families and the community.

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Windermere Elementary Library

Supply bins for students' next great creation

Windermere Media Center makerspace materials.

Find something you love, and you’ll never work a day – Shannon Hemmelgarn

Upon entering Upper Arlington’s Windermere Elementary Library and Media Center, we were immediately greeted with a symphony of young, excited voices and a flurry of activity.  It was the library’s Maker Day, and students throughout the entire library were focused on designing, creating and solving.

Librarian Shannon Himmelgarn assisting a student during the media center's maker day

Librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn assisting a student during the media center’s Maker Day.

Maker Day occurs every week, and the students love it.  Children partner with peers, work independently and collaborate with Librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn.  During our visit, we witnessed the creation of a lightweight paper structure that could hold a hardcover book, the colorful build of a potential future home and the deliberate process of a MakerBot manufacturing Lego bricks.  A plethora of materials with a mix of high and low tech are easily within reach of all students, making creativity fun and infectious.  “We work to develop the whole child,” Shannon explained.  By doing so, she and Windermere Elementary foster critical and design thinking in a welcoming environment.

MakerBot in action.

The MakerBot in action.

Literacy and research are the bedrock of the library.  Shannon, Media Clerk Edie Hartmus and library volunteer staff partner with teachers to create customized resources, supporting lesson plans and exceptional educational outcomes.  The collection of 14,000 books is augmented by author visits.  Caldecott Medal recipient Paul Zelinksy visited the school system thanks in partnership to the Upper Arlington Schools PTO and the Upper Arlington Education Foundation.  And the school is excited to welcome children’s lit-inspired musician Emily Arrow.  Emily will be performing her songs with Windermere’s ukulele orchestra, which Shannon is a part of.  Both visits demonstrate how art, music and literature co-exist and come alive at Windermere.

Musician Emily Arrow to visit Windermere.

Literature inspired musician Emily Arrow to visit Windermere.

Partnerships play an important role with Windermere’s library.  Upper Arlington Public Library’s Sue Emrick actively collaborates with Shannon to create an informative newsletter, and the public library sends representatives to Windermere for summer reading and e-book initiatives.  Shannon also partners with Windermere’s couselor on digital citizenship safety, other librarians in the district and Windermere’s administration to shape resource policies, like the district’s 1:1 laptop and tablet program.

Shannon Hemmelgarn with her favorite book, "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson

Librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn with her favorite book, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson.

Shannon Hemmelgarn believes in the power of strong relationships.  After joining Windermere in 2015 from a successful, 13-year teaching tenure at New Albany-Plain Local Schools, she quickly built rapport among peers and students by being a trusted partner and promoting all resources as open and flexible.  She is the only teacher at the school who interacts with every one of the over 400 students every week, and she takes great pride in knowing each student.  Shannon is excited to further support Windermere’s curriculum, expand the library’s makerspace, enhance the collection’s diversity and fulfill her commitment to the community.

Popular magazines are thoughtfully displays for quick access

Popular magazines are thoughtfully displayed for quick access.

The Windermere Elementary Media Center is a phenomenon resource and a wonderful example of a fun, energizing and open environment.

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Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School

Quick Picks

Students in Courtney Johnson’s sophomore English class at Fort Arts and Academic High School are given an amazing opportunity to become lifelong literature lovers.  Through Courtney’s tireless work, her students are highly educated, prepared for leadership and service and empowered for success as citizens in a global community.

Courtney Johnson

Courtney Johnson shares some of her favorite books.

Courtney, a librarian, teacher and advocate for education was the recipient of a competitive $5,000 grant from the Book Love Foundation, empowering her to transform her classroom into a library.  Her bookshelves offer an impressive array of contemporary and classic literature.  

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Students are sure to find a book that will capture their imagination from this wide selection.

Students spend time reading at the beginning of every class.  She partners with students one-on-one to discuss what they are reading and helps them select books that will ignite their interests.  Courtney shared she is fortunate to have certain level of freedom at Fort Hayes, giving her the opportunity to create a non-traditional model for teaching English where students select their own literature.  Students read short pieces as a group to learn how to analyze and think critically.  Then they journal, collect new vocabulary words and capture thoughts to share from books they read.  Courtney estimates her students read between 20 and 40 books each year.

Classroom Panorama

Library merges with classroom.

Courtney strives to maintain a collection of items that will appeal to each student.  She constantly reads about new books, consulting other teachers, Good Reads, Facebook, book lists and students.  Her goal is to “know the kid, know the book and make the match.”  She particularly strives to represent diversity in literature and sees a strong need for more diversity.

Favorites of Class 2017

Favorites of the Class of 2017 are displayed at the front of the room.

Courtney’s library is organized by subject, including graphic novels (a great gateway for reluctant readers), “quick picks” (easier books), peer student recommendations, fiction, sci-fi, LGBQ and sports.

Weekley Reading Rate

Students calculate their reading rate to determine how many pages they are required to read each week.

This month, Courtney embarks on her third year of teaching with a classroom library.  She is excited to introduce new students to the joy of reading.  She also plans to apply for another Book Love Foundation grant for the whole school.  Her vision is for each classroom to have its own library.  When students are immersed in books, it’s hard for them not to embrace reading.

Building 520-2

The classroom is located in this building on Fort Hayes’ campus.

Class 2017 Picks

A selection of student favorites.

Classroom 2

The classroom.

Stories from the World

Stories from the world.

Memiors and Biographies

Memoirs and biographies.

Read Like a Champion

Students are encouraged to “read like a champion” when they enter Courtney Johnson’s classroom.