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Lamar Middle librarian gets techie

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Colleen Graves (Photo courtesy of Colleen Graves).
Colleen Graves (Photo courtesy of Colleen Graves).

When Colleen Graves won an award as co-finalist for School Librarian of the year last year, it changed her life, much like she changed the lives of hundreds of students by transforming the Lamar Middle School library into a world of wonder.

She offered Maker Monday workshops, teaching coding and game development using a program called Scratch. When the workshops began, 75 kids literally ran into the library to sign up, Graves said.

Graves had the backing of her supervisors, so she took a summer, repainted the library, added custom shelves that her husband built, and turned the Lamar library into a place where kids could create.

She’s also leading a national maker camp this summer with School Library Journal.

“A lot of people are finding out about this phenomenon and trying to put it in their libraries,” she said.

Graves taught herself how to create computer games and use the software and technology she teaches.

None of this means the students in Graves’ classes don’t read. In fact, one of them read more than 200 books this past school year.

Her award, sponsored by Scholastic and School Library Journal, has changed the game for Graves also. She speaks at conferences, teaches teachers and was named one of the top 10 school librarians to follow on Twitter.

Graves will transfer to Ryan High School in Denton this coming year, where she can be a bit closer to home.

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