She's forging along

Sally Bacon spent summer logging books into computer with volunteers

Sally Bacon spent summer logging books into computer with volunteers

October 12, 2004|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Sally Bacon

Age - 50.

Occupation - Media teacher at Old Forge Elementary.

Hometown - Hershey, Pa.

Where would you see Bacon? - Bacon has been the media teacher at Old Forge for 30 years, a job she started right after graduating from Shippensburg University with a dual major in math and library science.

In that time, she's taught two generations of families and a third generation baby was just born.

Bacon was interested in library science at an early age, serving as an aid for the Hershey Public Library when she was a Girl Scout.


Some people will recognize Bacon from the Hagerstown Farmers Market, where from 1981 to 1984 she and her husband sold homemade mincemeat pies and produce from their farming efforts at the Four Locks at the C&O Canal.

This year has brought noticeable changes to the media center. Bacon finally got a new circulation desk complete with scanner and additional computers for students to access information on books and their availability, as though they were at a local public library.

As a result, Bacon and a crew of 17 volunteers - high school students in need of student service learning hours, parents and grandparents - put in 479 hours during the month of July bar coding 5,927 hardback books in the school library's collection for automated checkout. Work continues this fall on coding the paperbacks.

Bacon and her volunteers worked in the gym, amidst the dust of the sanding of the gym floor and in the heat because the air conditioning wasn't working. In some cases, volunteers took books home to help speed up the process.

"We probably saved the county $19,000," Bacon said. "You can't do it without volunteers."

Without volunteers, checkout cards in each book are sent to a company that will make the bar code, but the codes still have to be affixed to the books.

In addition to teaching students - Bacon works with about 120 students each day, one-third of the school's population - she serves as the technology coordinator for the school, the first point of contact for staff members with computer problems or a technology question.

Bacon incorporates technology as much as possible when working with students, including PowerPoint presentations and teaching the children how to use the two Palm Pilots she purchased with book fair money.

She helped write the second- grade media assessment and fourth-grade fact-finding assessment. Bacon also worked on curriculum for the Washington County Board of Education Library Media Program Policies and Procedures Handbook.

"I tell you, I was busy this summer," said Bacon, who lives in Waynesboro, Pa., with her husband, Nate, and 14-year-old son, Karl.

Bacon is also on the Washington County committee for chapter books for the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award. She volunteers to read books the year before they make the final list, reading most of the ones on the list.

The self-described multi-tasker wastes little time during the day, using the time she spends blow drying her hair - about 20 to 30 minutes - to read Black-Eyed Susan books or to grade papers.

Hobbies - Besides reading, Bacon loves to cook and bake and make dried noodles. Her cookies have won ribbons at the Franklin County Fair. "I make good fudge, too," she said.

What does Bacon like best about Washington County? -Bacon likes the land, especially the mountains, the people, the schools and the shopping. She also likes that the restaurants in Maryland are non-smoking, so when she and her family eat out, they come to Hagerstown.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail

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