By Porscha Outlaw and Jennifer Garcia
Book Brigade began in the spring of 2016, to give students a chance to check out books at school since there is no library. It began with a single cart with a few books and since then, it has accumulated 3 carts full of books for students to check out. The students who run Book Brigade are juniors: Jennifer Garcia, Rocio Castro, Londy Hernandez, Porscha Outlaw, Lissete Cisneros, and Allison Avelar, as well seniors Jesus Llamas and Alexis Coras, and the teacher who began it is Mrs. De La Garza.
De La Garza said her goal for the book cart is to, “give kids an opportunity to find books so that they can read for pleasure on their own time.” As far as meeting that goal, she thinks there is still more to be done. She has noticed that, “About 5 books are checked out in a week.” To encourage more students to read, DLG wants to publicize the book cart more because students, especially freshman, don’t know what it is. De la Garza pointed out that students who read more significantly improve their lexile score, therefore she hopes to encourage more students to read through book Brigade.
Similarly, 11th grade English teacher Mrs. Edelman believes that book Brigade is effective for students because Not everyone has easy access to books. However, she thinks, “it would be cool if the book brigaders had more leadership roles, advertised it, and got other students, especially underclassmen, excited about it and continue to add to the collection of high interests books. Really getting the word out and having events where either teachers or students can participate in having to do with reading would definitely improve book Brigade.”
When it comes to checking out books, Londy said, “It’s usually the same people who’ll finish their books and then come to get another one.” She said these students usually are fast readers, so they continuously check out books. Her hope is to do more with the book cart, “[Maybe] a ‘Blind Date’ with a book, where you wrap the cover of the book up so no one can see it, then have students pick one to read. Like the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’”
On the other hand, Londy believes Book Brigade is only Effective for the students who regularly check out books. She said, “A lot of students don’t care about reading, so they aren’t going to use it, but it has helped the bank accounts of the students who regularly participate, and can’t buy their books, or have to commute far distances to get books.”
In agreement, Allison said, “We don’t have a library here, so the only options are either going to the library, buying their own books, or reading the books that some teachers have available.”
However, junior Lissete Cisneros thinks it is not effective. She said, “Each time we take out the book cart, maybe one person will check a book out if we’re lucky.” To improve the book brigade, Lissete believes there should be SAT, ACT, and AP test prep books for students to be able to check out.
Sophomore Jessica Moreno, who often checks out books, said she would like Book Brigade to, “add more books and be there more frequently.” Considering her frequent participation, she has the benefit of having more reading options, unlike before Book Brigade began.
However, freshman Azenett Herrera said that since she does not check out books, due to being too busy, she is not affected at all and that Book Brigade should, “go around and tell people to check out books, and promote in more ways.”
Evidently, popular opinion suggests that even though book brigade is helpful, there is always room for improvement.Although it is believed that Book Brigade May have a positive effect on students, it was suggested by everyone that it needs to be advertised more for students to be more aware of it. This may encourage students to check out books, and reach Mrs. De La Garza’s goal of giving kids an opportunity to have easy access to books so they can read for fun.