- Robert J. Burch Elementary School
Magic Books: Media specialist White ignites a love of literature
There’s magic in a good book, and Amanda White lives to help Peachtree City Elementary students learn to love reading.
White has been the media specialist at PCES since 2002. Her job is so much more than just sorting books, it also requires being a teacher, an information specialist, a program administrator, and an instructional partner.
There isn’t quite an average day in the media center because it changes so frequently and on a dime.
“Every day is a new adventure here in the media center, and that’s one reason I love this job so much,” said White. “We don’t just sit behind a desk. We do a lot more than that.”
It begins very early in the day with Panther Pandemonium. White helps the student crew produce a 10-minute news broadcast on the fly. Then, throughout the day, classes come through for story time and lessons and check out time, and in between they see individual students. They also meet with parents who can drop in to check out books. White finds time to work on the school yearbook, both layout and photography. She also helps out other teachers with graphics needs whenever she can.
As often as possible, she’s out and visiting with classrooms.
“We are one of the gears that helps the school move,” she said. “I want the kids and the staff to see me to reinforce the idea that the media center is connected with their classrooms.”
Working in a media center has long seemed to be her destiny. She always loved playing school with her sister, and she loved finding different ways to organize her books.
“I just feel really fortunate to have found a position that suits me so perfectly. It was a role I saw for myself, even as a young child, she said. “I was playing librarian, even as a child.”
Her parents were very invested in helping her love of reading and education grow.
“When they saw what a love it was for me when I was younger, they made certain our house was filled with books and trips to the public library. I remember coming home with armloads of books, just checking out the limit we could check out, and keeping them in a special place in my room.”
White is paying forward the love that was shown to her. She has fond memories of her elementary school media specialist, and she can still see and smell her favorite spots and books there.
“She saw a funky kid who needed to find a spot and the library was that spot. She really put great books in my hands that spoke to me.”
Together with parapro Andi Williams, the PCES media center thrives on launching a love of reading in many a young Panther.
“We take it very seriously the desire to help students learn to love to read. We can choose a book for you but it’s most meaningful if we can get that personal line of connection with a student and find a book that they are most interested in,” said White. “I want you to have an investment in it so that you will learn to love it and come back for more.”
White loves what she does every day.
“The media specialist role I think is just the greatest job in a school building,” said White. “There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing little children with their head bent over a big fat picture book. That makes me really, really happy.”
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