Pike lights up a quiet library


Anika Garg, Features Editor

Kerri Pike, librarian at Dougherty Valley, shares some insight into how much effort goes into keeping our vast library an exciting place for learning.

With her unique position as “Teacher Librarian,” it is Ms. Pike’s duty to oversee the budget, purchasing decisions, program development (like challenges), professional development and anything related to research.

She also aids students either by teaching or simply providing them with help when necessary.

She added that her favorite part is “getting to help people … Our philosophy is that ‘we serve at the whim of our patrons’, so I might come to work and have my to-do list, and by noon it might be shot because I’ve been pulled in four different directions … there is a lot of freedom and I love that we’re always busy.”

Ms. Pike has years of teaching experience under her belt. She taught English at San Ramon Valley High School for eight years, including Journalism and Creative Writing.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. Kids would play doctor and I would play school … My great grandmother was the Danville librarian for 50 years, so I guess it’s in my blood … [Being librarian is] like a perfect balance: I still get to teach, I still get to hang out with kids, I still get to talk about books and literature, but I have no papers to grade. It really is the best of both worlds.”

While describing her experience at Dougherty Valley, Ms. Pike stated that, “I love it. I really appreciate the diversity of our students here. It’s fun and we all just learn from each other. I love this community, its where I grew up … my family has been here for almost 100 years. Our students are awesome, and they read, which I love.”

Similar to students, her typical day starts early in the morning at school.

“I come in at 7:30 a.m. to open the library. I get everything turned on, especially the coffee pot, and then it depends, every day is different. We can have up to three classes at a time here, which is rare but we always have at least one class per period here, if not two, or three,” she says. “When there’s downtime I catch up on emails, which is a ton. I get way more emails as a librarian than I ever did as a teacher … I tend to have a lot of meetings, more than i thought I would’ve had with different vendors, teachers, administrators, other librarians and even site council after school.”

The majority of school library funding comes from parent donations at registration, which are essential to keep our growing library filled with new books. Some money is also directed from the site council to pay for supervising teachers during brunch and lunch. Most of the money is then spent on subscriptions to databases and paying for new books, while the rest is used for library materials and supplies.

Ms. Pike mentioned, “In four and a half years of being here, I’ve never once not been able to buy a book for a kid when they requested it. I’m really proud of that … I’ve always had the money to be able to get it, which is great.”

DV’s school library also hosts numerous events during the year. Just this past November was National Novel Writing Month, during which students signed up to finish writing an entire book throughout the weeks during Access and after-school hours. A December reading challenge is also held, which usually attracts hundreds of students. Those who complete the challenge receive prizes, or can choose to “read off” their library fines instead.

In the SRVUSD school district, Dougherty has the largest collection of books, with approximately 25,000 in the library. DV also have the highest circulation of about 32,000 checkouts last year, surpassing the other major high schools by thousands. Overall, with DV’s fantastic librarians, events and selection, the Dougherty Valley High School Library has become a source of pride for our school over the years.