Shawnee Mission East

Unsung Hero: Librarian Bill Hiles

It’s 6:45 a.m. and the sun hasn’t risen yet over Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan., but Bill Hiles is already hard at work in the library– one of the greatest resources for students, and students are very appreciative of his commitment.

One by one, students begin to arrive and shuffle into the library at 7:00 a.m. in search of a fix for their most recent technology crisis or a quiet place to study. When the technology doesn’t work, students are cut off from their virtual classrooms and documents. Our hero is the librarian, one of the most important people at our school.

Upon his arrival, he turns on the lights, sets the televisions up to the channels he wants, and begins to work on students computers. When it comes to teachers, he mostly helps with problems entailing their emails. For English and Social Studies classes, he teaches students how to work the databases that he is in charge of purchasing.

Hiles also works hard to stay trendy, making sure the collection of books in the library is up to date and evolving. He fiddles with technology to develop new ways to fix the latest issues.

“My kids always told me, and they’re in their thirties now, ‘Dad you don’t know enough to really screw anything up, so just try it, Dad, go ahead and try it,’” Hiles says, “And I slowly learn that way.”

Students know him as being “hilarious” and “extremely helpful.” When Kansas played in the Big 12, he organized a watch party.

“We set all the comfy chairs up and had a little theater and people came in and sat down to watch,” Hiles said. “In fact, I looked over there and Dr. Leonard [assistant principal] was watching the game.”

Hiles takes the time to get to know the frequent visitors of his library, like the video boys who meet often. He generously offers space in the library for Ukulele club, which he advises along with Student Library Advisory Club.

His deep involvement within our school affects every student at one point or another during their four years at SM East and the student body is forever grateful for his hard work.