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Jeffrey Zahn, one of Townsend Harris High School’s two librarians, is retiring this year after 10 years of serving the school. Alongside co-librarian Maxine Kupersmith, Mr. Zahn has worked every day to help students navigate through the collections of literature and information at the THHS library on the third floor. His job entails purchasing books, taking inventory, teaching lessons for collaterals, conducting a variety of research, and planning summer reading lists for students.
Mr. Zahn is retiring because he has reached the age where he feels retirement is the right choice. He said, “I’m old. I’ve been working 37 years.” After his retirement, he plans to move upstate, possibly continuing work as a librarian.
During his time as librarian, a few significant changes have occurred in the library. Among them is a catalogue, which students can view in school and at home.
One of Mr. Zahn’s main responsibilities as librarian is to keep order in the library. Sophomore Carolina Lara comments, “I think what sticks out the most [about Mr. Zahn] is how much effort and time he puts in to make sure the library is up to his standards.” She continued, “Without someone there in the library, I feel like it wouldn’t be the same place we rely on.”
Junior Nadia Khan agrees, adding, “ It’s hard to imagine [Mr. Zahn] not there.”
Many students feel the librarians are important to our school running smoothly. Nadia says, “Librarians keep order in a place where it’s very easy to become the second cafeteria.”
Mr. Zahn mentioned that he will miss the opportunities he has had to conduct intellectual conversations with many students and staff. He explained that his favorite memory includes “the few students that [he] met that were so intellectually curious they would have discussions with [him],” as well as “meeting some faculty [he] thought were very intellectually engaged with new and innovative ways of thinking.”
The students will also greatly miss Mr. Zahn. Carolina explained, “I believe the Townsend Harris students rely on the library way more than they realize. We use it for studying, the computers, and to do research. But no one realizes it’s the librarians like Mr. Zahn who keep it all running.”
Looking towards the future for the library, Mr. Zahn commented, “I hope they don’t de-emphasize the importance of the book; I hope they will re-emphasize the importance of going to the actual texts.”
Staff are not yet sure who will replace Mr. Zahn next year.