Holy Cross librarian keeps on motivating

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 20, 2003

Arlene Hein has been the librarian for Holy Cross Lutheran School since 1967, when this school merged with St. John's Lutheran School. She was a teacher for the first and second graders for 20 years.

"I first taught school in Wisconsin, where I had 45 students in grades one through eight. I have always taught multiple grades," Hein said.

It is a step back in time at this parochial school of 50 students. The Dewey Decimal System categorizes the books. There are no computers. A large window to the south lets in the warm sun on a cold winter day. A thick rug is on the floor for children to gather when Hein reads aloud to them. Library day is different for each grade.

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On this Wednesday, the kindergartners and first graders sit on the rug to hear Hein read "Katy and the Big Snow," by Virginia Burton. She holds their rapt attention and compares the story to living in Austin, when there are big snowfalls.

Hein keeps the library clean and displays books that have not been read for awhile. It is Black History Month and she has a large section of books on

well-known Black Americans.

"I like to keep the kids reading. I have a point system with students' names on sheets of paper tacked up and they get so many points by the books

they read. The first book is 10 points and a biography or classic book will

be more points. When they receive so many points, the reader is rewarded with a book," Hein said.

Hein has four other women who help her out in the library. Brenda Qualey and Lorene Rector both have grandchildren at the school. Mary Simonson is the wife of a school board member and Cindy Heyer has children who attend the school.

Parishioners of Holy Cross and former students donate many of the books for the library. Hein has taught some of the parents and grandparents of the children currently attending Holy Cross. Hein raised four children of her own and they attended Holy Cross.

"Last year I tutored here. I like being the librarian. I feel

am doing something useful and I like the kids," Hein said.