A library of their own

Spectrum’s library opened at the start of the school year. Teacher Stu Smith said students have been using the room as a quiet place to study.  - Tara Lemm/Staff photo
Spectrum’s library opened at the start of the school year. Teacher Stu Smith said students have been using the room as a quiet place to study.
— image credit: Tara Lemm/Staff photo

KINGSTON —When Billy Duncan came to Spectrum Community School as a 10th-grader he noticed something was missing: a library.

This didn’t agree too well with Duncan.

“There was no library and nothing to read when I had to do book reports, and I didn’t like having to drive to Poulsbo,” said Duncan who’s now a senior at Spectrum. “It was bothersome not having it there.”

He said if students didn’t want to do a book report they’d explain there’s no library at the school.

Book reports aside, Spectrum’s been without a genuine library for more than 20 years, and for more than 20 years students haven’t had the luxury of checking out for-pleasure reading materials.

Instead the alternative school had a collection of North Kitsap School District issued text books and whatever teachers donated over the years.

This irked Duncan, so he changed it.

Towards the end of his sophomore year he asked the principal if he could start a library at Spectrum. In the middle of his junior year he started working on and collecting books for a library and at the start of his senior year Spectrum has a library.

The library is in its infancy, but it’s there. On the right hand side, just past the office, is a room with a round table and four bookshelves. There are books on oceanography, fix-it-yourself manuals, the National Geographic Magazine, Harry Potter, Wilson Rawls’ “Summer of the Monkeys,” Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” and hundreds of others. There’s no librarian and books are checked out on the honors system.

But it’s a library.

Last spring Duncan approached teacher Stu Smith about the library project, and Smith jumped on board to help.

“He started to collect used books and brought them in in boxes,” Smith said. “He had at least 20 boxes. He had a lot of books and he kept bringing them in.”

Duncan estimates he’s collected 1,000 books.

He placed an ad on and asked as many people as he could from around the county for book donations.

“I was driving to Seabeck, Port Orchard, I was driving everywhere,” Duncan said of his book collecting efforts. “On winter vacation I got books coming back from California. I got books all the time. I’m still working on it, slowly.”

Next Smith and Duncan ordered a few book shelves and Duncan and his friends assembled them.

Once all the boxes of books were brought in Smith realized they had more books than they could handle. The duo selected the books they wanted for the budding library and donated the leftovers to Mr. B’s Bookery in Kingston, which has worked out to be an extension of Spectrum’s library.

Smith used the books to set up an account at Mr. B’s for Spectrum students. Presently Spectrum’s account at Mr. B’s is approximately $174.

“The way it works is if a Spectrum student goes and picks out a book they get charged 35 percent of the already reduced price and the remaining 65 percent is subtracted from the balance of the Spectrum account,” Smith said. “It’s a great deal. You can get really nice books down there.”

Duncan started the library as just something to do; it’s now become his senior culminating project, which is required for graduation.

Duncan is slated to graduate this spring, but before then he has big plans for the library.

“I hope to get it painted. I hope to get more books, a new computer, better furniture, and that should happen before I graduate,” Duncan said. “It’s very fulfilling I was able to (start the library) and actually go through with it.”

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