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Rider High School librarian purges old books

WICHITA FALLS - The new Rider High School librarian is on a mission to make reading more appealing to the younger generation. 

Her goal was to change the average age of books printed from 1976 to 2000, and after weeks of going through the library, Sydney Stockton has made quite an upgrade and even got the average to 2001. 

It's only her first year serving as a librarian, but Stockton is already making drastic changes like removing 15,000 books from the shelves of the Rider High School library. 

"That is hard, as a librarian, as someone who loves books. It goes against all of my whole nature to get rid of books but it is for the best," Stockton said. 

Stockton said students won't pick up books unless they feel like it actually applies to them. 

"So since I had a great number of books that were here before I was even born, the kids feel like it's not for them. They don't feel like we bought it for them," Stockton said. " If I hadn't had the statistics in front of me to show me that yes, my circulation has doubled, then I would have said I was making a mistake by getting rid of so many books."

Noticing the changes in the library is freshman Kristopher Burchett.

"Some of them are in tip top shape. Some of them are a little bit beat up because some of them I haven't noticed before on the shelf. So, I go and I look more carefully each time," Burchett said. 

Stockton said part of her plan to encourage kids to read, is replacing books on the shelves and switching them out often so there's always different books on display.

"I come in here and I see if she's got anything new," Burchett said. "Everyday I come in here and look and there's different books. And I'm just like, Wow! I've never seen these before."

"It is unrealistic for me to get rid of every single book that is older. I have to make exceptions to the rule for every book. If a book is from the '60s, but our records show it has been checked out, I keep it," Stockton said. 

In all of the 15,000 books Stockton is getting rid of, not one student has checked them out since 2002.

"It is depressing. It is, to have these boxes and boxes of books that aren't here, that I know are good books and the kids would read, but they won't touch them, but by removing them it's allowed them to see other books for the first time," Stockton said. 

And maybe, for the first time, find that one book that will lead them to many more.

All of the books pulled from the school's library will be donated to the Friends of the Wichita Falls Public Library.

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