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East Hall High media center collects state recognition
It's only one in Georgia to receive honor
Penny Christensen, left, technology teacher at East Hall High, and Rebecca Hamby, the school’s media specialist, talk about the 3-D printer in the media center. - photo by RON BRIDGEMAN

A 3-D printer works on a piece for a guitar, books are being checked out a few feet away, students are scattered at computer terminals, two boys tease “mom” — it’s just another day at the East Hall High School media center.

But Rebecca Hamby, the school’s media specialist, talked about the changes in the room — and the function of the “library” since she was a student there.

The media center has been named the Judy Serritella Exemplary Media program for 2016. It is the only such designation for a high school in Georgia.

The Georgia Library Media Association awards the designation. To be awarded the designation, the media specialist has to complete an application, file letters of support and agree to host the open house.

“They don’t want it to be an old-fashioned library, just sitting in a room checking out books,” Hamby said. “What are you doing that’s different?”

The East Hall media center has a 3-D printer that has been busy much of the year printing parts for an electric guitar, Hamby said.

Devin Fisher said Hamby told him he could use the printer “if I could figure out a design.”

Much of the body and smaller parts have been printed. Hamby said the printer sometimes is on overnight, printing parts.

Hamby also said books continue to play a large part in the media center. She said 700 to 1,000 books are checked out each month.

She noted that nonfiction books “get out of date” more quickly. They don’t have the “shelf life” because of changing information — all of which can be found online.

But, she said, “I try to keep a constant flow of fiction coming in.”

The students keep seeking the books, she said.

“I can’t get them to use my e-books. They want to take home a stack of five or six books every weekend,” she said.

Hamby pointed out the room also has changed since she was a student when it had a “sunken” space for reading. She said she worked on research papers from a table overlooking the area.

She also noted that the “card catalogue” is now online. The media center has about eight or nine desktop computers, but those are being phased out as they “die,” Hamby said. A cart of Chromebooks is available for students to use, including in classrooms and overnight at home.

Hamby and her sister, Jennifer Parker, also founded the local chapter of the Tome Society, a student literary society, and organized TomeCon — for about 400 students this spring.

She said she was hiking with her sister several years ago, talking about how much she loved books and reading. Her sister, already a media specialist, suggested she, too, should change to that.

Hamby was then a biology teacher at Chestatee High School.

She is finishing her fifth year as the media specialist at East Hall.

“I love being surrounded by books,” Hamby said.

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