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COOLIDGE — The Coolidge Unified School District looks to implement a physical media center in the near future for both the high school and junior high school.

Both elementary schools already have libraries for their students.

CUSD Superintendent Dawn Dee Hodge said the high school and junior high have access to digital libraries through an app on their iPads and through the public library.

The students can also read several available texts through their English classes and the Teacher Resource Center.

“We will be looking to implement a physical media center in the near future for those two schools,” Hodge said.

CUSD board member Linda Heath explained that the high school in 2013-14 had a physical library but it was not being utilized much by students, so it was changed to a band room.

She said the students are not checking out books on their own and asked for staff to look at a physical media center, how to staff it and to bring books back for the students.

Heath said she did a lot of research on this topic and contacted several nearby school districts to see what they were doing and visited the libraries of both elementary schools in Coolidge.

What Heath discovered was a little bit of a mixed bag with schools like Casa Grande Union High School and Vista Grande High having libraries. Florence High School does not have a library as it moved to the town facility. The other two high schools in the Florence school district do have a physical media center.

Heath said she knows the junior high students and high schoolers can use an app to read books, but she would like more.

“I am sorry,” Heath said. “I think we need a physical library.”

The Coolidge Public Library has offered students e-books as well as a way to check out books, but it has not been used much by students.

Heath thinks the two schools should have a physical library on site.

“How do you foster reading without a library?” she asked. “Libraries are the heart of the school.”

The school board will be holding a workshop meeting soon in part to come up with a plan to reimplement a media center with books that students can check out.

The original date for the workshop was Oct. 20, but it has been rescheduled to a date that is pending.

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