Take a walk down the fourth and fifth-grade hallway, and you will pass a new hidden gem at ACA: the Faculty and Staff Lending Library. The inviting little bookshelf is filled with classics and modern books handpicked by Mr. Barfield, one of our fifth-grade teachers. This lending library is available for the ACA faculty and staff to take and leave books as they enjoy them and want to share with co-workers.
But how did this Lending Library come to be? Mr. Barfield shares that it all began with a conversation about one of the ACA’s 11th grade American Literature books he began reading on his own, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. He discussed the book’s beauty with Mr. Hawkins, which Mr. Holt overheard, and prompted him to recommend Gilead by Marilynne Robinson as Mr. Barfield’s next book. Later, Mr. Barfield found himself in a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Andrew about how Robinson’s writing felt like “being wrapped in a warm hug.” Mr. Barfield realized that the conversations and community surrounding great books should extend beyond the classroom. The Lending Library collection began with a few of Mr. Barfield’s favorite authors but has grown to house over 30 books.
“I like the bookshelf because it reminds me to persevere with reading and to challenge myself,” Mr. Barfield said. ”I like the perspective that books offer. I think it’s important to remember the vast amount of knowledge available, our inability to read or understand all of it, and the virtue of appreciating what we can.”
Curious about Mr. Barfield’s Lending Library must-reads? Here are his top 5 titles:
1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
2. The Shining by Stephen King
3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
4. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
5. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson