The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Abigail Pappaconstantinou
Ann Jennings reading her favorite book “Better than The Movies” by Lynn Painter

Getting Comfortable With Jennings

Many students feel that the FCHS library has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and is a place where kids from every grade, 8-12, can check out books and do their work. However, a lot of students don’t think about the work the librarians do to make it a safe zone for kids. This includes setting up mental health displays, adding comfortable seating, and discussing books with students, all things on which librarian Ann Jennings thrives.

“We are very conscious about making the library a comfortable place and a safe zone for students. That has been a goal we have worked on for at least a couple of years, actually,” said Jennings.

The librarians have done many things to make the library a comforting place for students, including adding brain break stations, comfort lights, music, puzzles and games. They also show off the traditions and pride of FCHS with a permanent “Flucos Through the Years” display of yearbooks.

Jennings has had a lifelong passion for reading and literature, long before she was drawn to teaching. Before becoming a librarian, she was an English teacher at FCHS for 17 years. She began teaching here in 2002 after graduating from FCHS in 1997.

“I knew since I was in 9th grade that I wanted to teach, so being a school librarian kind of combines those two passions,” said Jennings.

Despite her first year teaching having a rough beginning, starting with a mental breakdown in the library storage room, she met a “sweet” librarian who helped her by collaborating on lessons and showing Jennings instructional websites, which motivated her to become a librarian herself. She joined the library team at FCHS in 2019.

Jennings loves to read Young Adult Romance books. She often gives recommendations and discusses these books with students. By reading a lot of YA fiction and nonfiction books, she’s able to give informed recommendations to students. In addition, she participates in a 100 book challenge, which fellow librarian Shannon Taylor got her into, which challenges people to read 100 books in a year, or about two books per week. She improves each year with this challenge, last year reading a total of 89 books, but has yet to hit 100.

Her favorite book in the YA rom-com genre is “Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter. She enjoys lighthearted, fluffy, and sweet romance books that take her back to her past of watching movies like “Clueless,” “You’ve Got Mail,” and “Sixteen Candles.”

“It makes me think of all the fun rom-coms I grew up on in the 90’s and early 2000’s, with its enemies-to-lovers plot, witty banter, and slapstick, cringe-worthy moments,” said Jennings.

Being a librarian is not all puzzles and book recommendations. “Much of our work is behind the scenes and not many people get what we do,” said Jennings. Many students don’t realize what librarians do and think it’s a simple job for them to do, but in reality, it’s quite difficult to do all of the tasks that keep the library in check,” she added.

Besides checking out books to students and monitoring them in the library, she analyzes the book sections for their age, condition, and circulation. She has to replace outdated books, spending hours finding good replacements. She also teaches research lessons, does book talks, creates the library displays, and thinks up the stations that focus on creativity and STEM exploration. The stations they have right now include a 3D printer and pens, materials for knitting and crochet, origami and many other activities for students to do. She also currently sponsors the Student Book club and 3D Printer club.

When Jennings isn’t reading, she’s busy being an active participant in her church. She and her husband, Russell Jennings, who teaches Agriculture at FCHS, make 60 pounds of coleslaw each week during the six Fridays before Easter for Saints Peter and Paul’s annual Lenten Fish Fry, which she helped found. She spends every Friday serving and plating meals for the people that attend the Fish Fry.

“If you eat there, there is a good chance I helped plate your meal,” says Jennings.

She loves to travel, listen to live music, and attend festivals. Jennings has seen Pearl Jam, Train, Willy Nelson, The Rolling Stones, and The Violent Femmes (which has been her favorite so far) live. Almost every year, she attends the Maple Festival in Highland County, the RVA Irish Festival in Richmond, and many others across the Commonwealth with her husband. She also loves to experiment with different foods, but loves to cook the traditional Sicilian meals that she learned from her mother and grandmother as a child.

For more on the FCHS librarians, check out this article on Shannon Taylor.

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