Donations, Digital Checkout Revitalize YHMA Library

Things are moving and shaking at the Youth Homes of Mid-America (YHMA). At least that’s what Interim Associate Principal Kim Antisdel said after accepting a donation of 27 new books for the YHMA library.

Back in September of 2016, Jennifer Ewing, a member of the Jean Marie Cardinell Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), contacted Antisdel with a proposition. Ewing was looking for a way to give back to the community, specifically by making a donation to further the education of local teens.

“Every year we strive to commit service to the community, usually with a financial literacy component” said Ewing.  “In the past our donations have benefitted younger students, so this year we wanted to make a donation that would affect secondary students.”

Teachers work together to learn the new digital checkout system at YHMA library.

Ruth Thoreson (in yellow), JHS Teacher Librarian, assists the YHMA associates with final questions before the library moved to a digital check out system.

Ewing and her chapter of the NSDAR told Antisdel to provide a list of books they would like purchased for the YHMA students. Antisdel and YHMA staff immediately went to work researching appropriate books, comparing their library selections to those at the Johnston High School, and asking their students what books they would like to read.

The library itself even went through a “make-over.” Old books were donated to Hope Ministries to make room for the new and computers were added to provide students with both a literary and digital library space. Additionally, the YHMA library moved to a digital check out system, increasing efficiency for both staff and students.

According to associate Patti Beckwith, YHMA students are allowed to check out books to have during reading time and in some cases, to take home.

“Students have been asking when the new books will arrive,” said Beckwith earlier this year. “They are very excited.”

Everyone at the YHMA agreed, being able to choose what new books would be added to the library proved to be a donation they needed.

“You don’t know how much I appreciate this,” Antisdel said to Ewing upon receiving the new books. ”Outside donations are accepted and mean well, but they don’t always fit our needs. Being able to choose new books is a huge bonus.”