Archive for Thursday, August 29, 2002

Of books and bytes

Technology group rewards computer-savvy EHS librarian

August 29, 2002

When Eudora High School librarian Bonnie Brunk first starting going to conferences given by the Kansas Association for Educational Communications and Technology (KAECT) in the early 1980s, the matters discussed included topics like how to repair overhead projectors and record players.

"We still use overheads a lot because of what they do, but record players we don't use much anymore," Brunk said. "Some of the technology I first learned how to use is no longer used."

Now days, Brunk does what would have been unimaginable in the early 1980s: She maintains a Web site for Eudora.

The computer-savvy librarian's involvement in technology, specifically with KAECT, earned her the Susanne Bradley K-12 Media Specialist Technology Award at the Kansas TRI-Conference this spring. Other members of the organization, which comprises school librarians, technology experts and others, nominated Brunk, who has been on the KAECT board of directors several times, as well as the high school's librarian for more than 30 years.

Brunk's tenure at Eudora has spanned 32 years. Her career took a turn in 1985 with the arrival of the school's first computer, an Apple IIE.

"I used it to do reports, and I used it to make up a data base of students," she said. "I was probably one of the first (in the district) to get a computer.

"I had been learning on my own, reading and attending conferences and workshops anywhere I could find someone who knew more than I did."

Automatic checkout systems didn't exist for libraries then, but it's something Brunk said she was still working on getting.

"We have been trying since the early '90s to get it, and it comes down to the last minute and there's not enough money," she said.

Automation is just one way libraries have changed since Brunk began working for the district and since she joined KAECT.

"It's been interesting to see how it has changed over the years," she said. "I remember when we had a speaker tell us laser discs were going to revolutionize the world. Of course, most people don't use laser discs."

People do, however, rely on libraries to provide computer banks, which at Eudora High School includes 14 available for students.

"They are computer literate, but there's still a lot of little things, like how to do something more efficiently," Brunk said of students. "There's still a lot of one-on-one teaching."

Unlike some people whose jobs force them to learning how to use computers and other sophisticated equipment, Brunk said she'd always enjoyed learning how to use new technology.

"I guess I picked up the ball and ran with it," she said.

The Eudora Web site Brunk maintains can be viewed at http://skyways.lib.ks.us/towns/Eudora.

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