The Brown Library
The current library at Shoals Christian School (SCS) had its beginnings when librarian, Myrtle Brown, was employed by Woodmont Christian School in 1996 and given the directive to develop the library to meet Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) standards for accreditation. Subsequently, the book collection was expanded from 312 titles to over 1,100 titles, and a software program previously used by Mrs. Brown was utilized for the accessioning of titles and production of library cards. This program was supplemented by one used in the Woodmont Baptist Church Library. The two libraries shared resources, benefited from cooperation of personnel and AISA standards were met.
The merger of Woodmont Christian School and Northwest Christian Academy resulted in the establishment of Shoals Christian School in 1997. Mrs. Brown continued to serve as the librarian. She was joined by her husband, Dr. Jack Brown a retired Biology professor from the University of North Alabama, who provided expertise in the utilization and upgrading of software programs. This allowed circulation to be accomplished with unique barcode labels for each book and unique barcode library cards for each student. The expansion of holdings continued and the accomplishments of the Browns were recognized in January 1999 when the library was officially renamed The Brown Library.
Due to reoccurring health problems at the end of the 2001 school year, the Browns decided to retire from the library. Former fifth grade teacher, Judith Jones, began classes toward her certification and worked until January with the aid of the Browns. Judi took over full-time duties in January of 2002 and continued to expand the AR program and the book collection. Mrs. Jones focused greatly on the high school fiction collection and added over 300 volumes in this section as well as numerous additions to the Reference Section, Juvenile Fiction and Easy Readers during the next three years. As of July 2004, there were 6,377 titles, overwhelmingly meeting SACS standards.
When Mrs. Jones retired in the spring of 2004, the library aid managed the library until the end of the school year. At end of the 2004 school year, high school English teacher Beth Benson moved into the job as librarian. She began classes at the University of Alabama during the summer to obtain a Master's degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS). Mrs. Benson's goals for the library included building the technology available to students, increasing the size of the library to accommodate the growing collection, and providing areas for pleasure reading. Due to declining enrollment after the first two years, a library aid was no longer employed.
Over the summer of 2007, the library was expanded by 50% to include additional shelving for books, a reading area for elementary classes, a casual reading area for high school students and a computer station with 6 computers. The library received a grant to upgrade the automated checkout system to a web-based program. This upgrade allowed the school community to have access to the library catalog from any computer with Internet access, including computers in the library, classroom, computer lab and from home.
By 2012, the collection had grown to Just over 8,000 items. The focus was to use the elementary class times to increase information literacy. The curriculum was designed to complement the regular classroom instruction. Adjustments were made to the library schedule to offer both fixed and flex schedules. Mrs. Benson became an advocate for improved technology in the school as a whole. Along with the computer teacher, Ms. Hawk, the two helped to add LCD projectors to each classroom and offered Teacher Need Technology (TNT) classes to help fellow teachers move into the 21st century.
In 2014, the collection was at the 9,000 mark in spite of a concentrated weeding of the collection. Shelf space issues made it necessary to be more deliberate in how many copies of books were kept.