Mural provide creative flair

Photo by Kayla Cigainero

Story by John David Goins

When it comes to getting students interested in reading, Texas Middle School librarian Teresa Bennett is adding her own creative flair.

“I love being the librarian at TMS because I am lucky enough to combine my two favorite things–art and literature,” Bennett said. “I wanted to make the library more kid-friendly with an atmosphere that would encourage kids to read.”

In order to accomplish her goals, she has painted about 50 feet of murals that stretch around the library.

“I took many things into consideration before painting the murals, and so far I have made three of them,” Bennett said. “My main inspiration ended up being the fact that I wanted kids to feel more comfortable in the library.

Bennett hopes the murals and overall relaxed atmosphere in the library will inspire others to strengthen their reading skills.

“I miss the high school atmosphere and the maturity level that came with it, but I love the role I play now,” Bennett said. “I have begun planning a ‘chill zone’ where kids can come and prop their feet up to read, and I will start putting it together with the money we make from the book fairs.”

Bennett’s hard work has not gone unnoticed by the students of the Middle School.

“The murals are beautiful,” eighth Colleen Russell said, “and they make the library bright and welcoming.”

Bennett, who taught ninth grade STEM English last year, said she started to think of ways to improve the library when she was offered the job.

“When I found out that the position for librarian was open, I emailed my application in,” Bennett said. “I decided when I got the job that I wanted to make the library feel more modern yet be appealing to kids.”

Out of the three murals, Bennett enjoys the one with a Texas Tiger floating on clouds the most.

“In the future, I plan on the murals wrapping all the way around the library so that it fits together,” Bennett said.

Her murals will be tied by the squares she had connecting them, and she has plans for more.

“I paint the murals early in the morning and sometimes on the weekend,” Bennett said. “I plan on painting behind my desk, and I want it to be about expanding one’s thinking.”

She is hoping that the art itself would encourage the students to expand their minds.

“What I’m doing now suits me better and it’s really great, but one day I hope to be doing it with older kids,” Bennett said. “The library was already a really great place, but I’m glad I could put my own touch into it.”