Librarian: Sarah Woo
Holten-Richmond Middle School Library Website
At Holten-Richmond Middle School in Danvers, we are lucky to have a very strong, ongoing, collaborative relationship with the public library. Michelle Deschene-Warren, Head of Youth Services at Peabody Institute Library (PIL) in Danvers, and I work on many projects together. We are grateful that our flexible schedules - along with a flexible principal and director - allow us to fit in collaborative time to help us meet the challenging and changing needs of our students.
We develop the summer reading list and promote it by doing book talks and videos each year, and we often run a summer reading book fair at Barnes & Noble, during which we feature titles on the list. We each purchase the list titles, and I check out our copies to PIL for the summer. Michelle creates a display and manages the program for the summer with the help of the rest of the staff at PIL. We also collaborate on regularly scheduled book talks, activities, and book checkout with all three grades during library orientation and throughout the year. These visits have evolved into events which include videos, slide shows, and speed-dating with books, in addition to old fashioned book talks. Throughout the year, we work on single events that have in the past included superhero trivia and author visits. We also run an after school book club together, too, called BookIt. We meet at the school library after school once a month for conversation, snacks, and often a related activity. We are about to launch a new, unfortunate book club around the Lemony Snicket series, anticipating a resurgence of interest in the books because of the new Netflix series.
Michelle develops programming for our early release days, which occur once a month. Not only are all middle school students welcome, but also we provide a bus from the school to the library for all who are interested. These programs have featured live animals, cooking demonstrations, historical sword fighting demonstrations, art instruction, along with speakers presenting on various topics, such as the haunted history of the state and astronomy. Popular movies are also screened once or twice per school year. Another area of collaboration that we look forward to each year is around poetry. Michelle has created a program called Poetry in the Margins, which attracts upwards of 100 people, including students, families, and friends. Students perform original or favorite poems and/or songs at the event, which always occurs at the end of April. We promote the event with signage around the school, emails to parents, and “poem of the day” readings by students and staff during morning announcements throughout the month of April. To further stoke interest in Margins, we hold a Spine Poetry competition, which entails students visiting the library during SSR and after school to create spine poems. Michelle and I take photos of these poems, each one assigned its own number, and hang them up outside the library. Students are asked to vote for their favorite poem.
Finally, our most ambitious, well-attended, exciting event each year for the past three years is Harry Potter Book Day, a global event held on the same day each year around the world, sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing. We do advertise it as a worldwide event, but but we always deviate from Bloomsbury in terms of theme. Michelle is usually busily thinking about the theme for the following year as we are cleaning up from the present year. The first year we dressed up the windows looking out to the hallway as though it were a stroll down Diagon Alley. At the event itself, having been sorted into their proper House, kids created potions, transfigured lollipops into spiders, shopped for pigmy puffs, ate lots of sweets from Honeydukes, and competed in a Hogwarts trivia quiz.
Last year we created a Hall of Portraits in our library windows, having convinced many staff members to dress up and pose as Hogwarts professors. Witches, wizards, and muggles alike walked past the amazing Hall of Portraits to get to the Hogwarts Classrooms. There they were sorted into Houses, created monster books and death eater masks, played Quidditch, and competed in Hogwarts Jeopardy Trivia.
This year, Michelle thought of expanding to include schools of magic other than solely Hogwarts. Having witnessed the brilliance of the previous two Harry Potter event themes dreamt up by Michelle, I was willing to embrace the latest. Thus began the 3rd annual Harry Potter Book Day: The International Schools of Wizardry Exposition of 2017. I’ve attempted to capture the spirit of the event with the photos on this page. Five schools of magic, along with the schools of wizardry map presented on Pottermore.com, were represented in our windows: Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the United States of America, Mahoutokoro School of Magic in Japan, Uagadou School of Magic in Uganda, Durmstrang Institute in northern Europe, and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in southern France.
Inside the library, the space was transformed into additional schools of magic, represented either by food and decorations, or crafts and decorations. We provided snacks such as:
- bolo de rolo, brigadeiro, and pão de queijo (aka jelly roll, chocolate cupcakes, and cheese buns) in Castelobruxo in Brazil;
- rooibus and honeybush tea, biltong/dried ostrich, and sfenj/donuts soaked in honey (aka tea, beef jerky, and glazed munchkins) in Uagadou;
- éclairs, macarons, baguettes avec du fromage/cheese with French bread, and croissants in Beauxbatons;
- chips, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn, and Boston baked beans in Ilvermorny;
- kransekake, floderbolle, and lattemiele (aka waffle tower, chocolate marshmallow treats, and milk & honey cookies) in Durmstrang;
- mochi ice cream and other treats in Mahoutokoro;
- in addition to drinks and the pièce de résistance: the fontaine de chocolat - a chocolate fountain, which was a huge hit.
- the dark art of Matryoshka (nesting doll and “fabergé” egg painting) in Durmstrang,
- Dreamcatchers in Ilvermorny
- Charmes de parfum (“scent charms,” using jojoba oil and their choice of 16 essential oils) in Beauxbatons
100 witches, wizards, and no doubt a few muggles, attended. All got into the spirit of the event and participated joyfully, as did the approximately one dozen volunteers from the middle school and the public library, without whom we never could have pulled it off. Lastly, Rita Skeeter put in an appearance to record and misrepresent the entire celebration.