About the John L. Zoph Library

The John L. Zoph Library was named in honor of Reverend John L. Zoph (1908-2002). We provide a fully networked, student-centered learning environment that models the school environment of Catholic faith, academic excellence and mutual respect. Our learning community has access to a quality collection of print and electronic information resources that support the school curriculum. The library staff is available during and after school hours for reference help as well as for group and individual instruction. Our virtual library is always open. From our library home page, the school learning community can access our online catalog, research databases, and links to many helpful research tools.

Library Staff

Mr. Patrick Vallez-Kelly, MLIS, Librarian
Ms. Laura Praszker, Library Support
Ms. Linda Williams, Library Support

Library Mission

In keeping with the school's mission and graduation learning outcomes, the John L. Zoph Library program encourages a spirit of vigorous intellectual inquiry and positive attitudes for life-long learning. The Library's mission is to foster literacy and critical thinking skills; to support the curriculum by providing physical and intellectual access to current, adequate and appropriate information resources; and to ensure that all members of the learning community become efficient, effective, and ethical users of ideas and information.

This mission is accomplished, with proper funding and resources, by the library staff in collaboration with the Junipero Serra High School community by:

  • implementing an educationally effective library program, integrated in the school's learning program through collaborative planning with teachers;
  • providing access to the most current materials and technology appropriate to the specific needs of the school community;
  • offering assistance to members of the staff by analyzing needs and providing guidance in the choice and application of media resources;
  • developing learning experiences in collaboration with classroom teachers which will require individual students to access information through print and electronic media and provide opportunities for critical and creative thinking;
  • stimulating interest in reading and appreciation of literature through leisure reading and free choice; and by creating an environment that will instill in students a desire for the life-long use of libraries for academic, occupational, and recreational pursuits.


We envision a school library and learning commons that functions as a critical and central component of the total education program at Junípero Serra High School. At the heart of this successful school library program is the teaching of effective learning strategies and information literacy skills. Furthermore, we believe that the ability to find, evaluate and use information, information literacy, is the keystone of lifelong learning.

Remembering Father John L. Zoph

In short, Father John L. Zoph's tenure at Serra High School was the stuff of which legends are made. When he passed away on December 6, 2002, at the age of 94, the loss was profound for many in the Serra community. As a founding member of the faculty there are few memories of the school that do not include Father Zoph.

The following was written by alum Scott Delucchi '85 in memory of Father Zoph.

“I sure hope the lettering doesn’t read “The John Zoph Memorial Library,” joked Serra’s living treasure upon learning in 1994 that the Junipero Serra Library would bear his name. In the weeks between the day he learned of the honor and the day he walked under the gold leaf letters for the first time, he downplayed it. Deep down, he was touched and honored. Truly, a fitting gift to the man who needed or wanted nothing other than to help others learn.

Fr. Zoph’s relationship with Serra began in 1944, almost by accident, when he was told by Archbishop Mitty that he would be one of four priests to teach students at the then brand-new Serra High School. Zoph, of course, accepted.
He taught full-time at Serra for the next 23 years. Diminutive in size, but imposing in stature, Fr. Zoph was a rigid teacher who stressed the fundamentals while teaching his staples: English and Latin. He used to say that parents would often complain to him on Back to School Night. “My son never received a C before.” His reply: “There’s always a first for everything.” Though he was rarely the most popular of teachers due to his academic demands, Fr. Zoph was often the teacher to whom graduates from Serra’s first quarter century would credit their college success.

Following his teaching career, Fr. Zoph served as Serra’s librarian until 1973. By then, he was meeting sons of the students he taught. From the mid ‘70s through the mid ‘90s, Fr. Zoph spent time in the library every school day, helping students, assisting the librarian and selecting books for the school’s collection. Still very much a part of the school, Fr. Zoph followed Serra’s sports teams and kept in touch with countless graduates from all walks of life.

During his 50-plus years at Serra, Fr. Zoph lived through countless societal changes: presidents, wars, Civil Rights, female teachers and co-ed classes, advancements and new threats in all areas of life. Long before the Internet, Fr. Zoph was a walking Wikipedia in priestly black and collar. And, by the time the Information Superhighway criss-crossed all areas of our lives, Fr. Zoph stayed in the slow lane, but merged on nonetheless.

For a man who was always helping students learn and learning himself, having the library named in his honor was perfect; that he was alive to enjoy the honor was special.

-- Scott Delucchi ‘85

Library Policies


The John L. Zoph Library is open and available to the Junipero Serra community throughout the school day. We operate on a flexible schedule. Teachers can schedule their classes into the library in advance or they may send students to work in the library during class time with a pass.

The library is open to students before and after school, and during their lunch, recess and independent study period. The students can use the library to study, look for a book, work on a project with a group, or just read and relax.


Students can check out books and magazines for a period of four weeks. Videos and some class material can be checked out overnight. If a student has an overdue book, they will not be allowed to check out any other materials until the late book is returned.

Lost or Damaged Books

Students are responsible for the books and other items that they borrow. If an item is lost, the student will be charged the original cost of the book. Students will also be charged for damaged books.

Acceptable Use Policy for Computers and Electronic Information Resources

The computers and access to the Internet is to be used for school-related purposes. Please refer to the Student-Parent Handbook for the Acceptable Use Policy.

Reader Advisory Service

The Library Media Center staff assists students in defining their interests, and provides them with guidance in the selection and use of media in all formats. Student literacy is promoted through a quality collection, promotional activities, and special events.


Volunteer help contributes to the smooth running of the library and is much appreciated! Volunteers help with filing, shelving, circulation, updating databases, etc. New volunteers are always welcome. Please contact the library staff if you would like to help us out.