Library Teacher: Katy Gallagher
Hingham High School Library Media Center
The Hingham Tech Squad is a student-centered solution for school-wide technology integration. Students involved in this program learn how to use existing educational technologies, as well as how to evaluate and make informed selections among the technologies available to complete a task or project. Students not only learn technology skills but also crucial 21st century skills, such as planning and collaboration. They learn how to help teachers integrate technology into classroom lessons, how to use school technology, and how to provide tech support. The Hingham Tech Squad members work with teachers throughout the school to plan tech-infused lesson or provide tech support. The result is an authentic project-based learning experience for the students and sustainable technology support for the teachers. Math Teacher Sarah Coughlin created the program 4 years ago and continues to teach this popular elective.
After completing the Tech Squad course students are invited to join the Tech Squad Help Desk, based in the school library. Tech Squad Help Desk Students are on call during their assigned period to field in-the-moment technical issues happening throughout the building. Teachers know to call the library extension if an issue arises with technology during a class. Library staff communicates the need to the Help Desk Student and sends the student to the classroom. This format is extremely helpful to teachers whether the issue is equipment failure, software compatibility issues or technology set up and break down. Knowing there is someone to call for support when something goes wrong puts teachers at ease in terms of trying new technology. Help Desk students also manage library equipment delivery throughout the building (50 Chromebooks, projectors, etc.), the library desktop computers (11PCs and 4 Macs), and train teachers on new technology during teacher prep time. During any down time Help Desk student take technology based online courses through Alison.com, which are self paced. Future plans include a Maker Space in the library to be managed and operated by the Tech Squad and Tech Squad Help Desk students, which will provide students in the program with experience developing curriculum and training for the technologies within the Maker Space, in addition to acting as on demand support for student and teacher users throughout the day.
Librarian: Paige Rowse
Needham High School Library
Inspired by the American Library Association’s Teen Tech Week, Needham High School is hosting our second annual Teen Tech Week program! We have a number of tech-related activities available for student participation both in the library and beyond. It is our hope that students will engage with new technology in a meaningful way as well as think more conscientiously about how they engage with technology and social media every day. This year, we are taking that a step further by embracing this year’s ALA theme of “Be the source of change”. Collaboration is a key component for success in our daily workshops and weeklong activities.
Overall, this program is a result of collaborating beyond the library that includes the technology center and the Da Vinci Workshop (a hands-on engineering and technology tinkerlab where students explore robotics, 3D printing, laser cutting, and more). Together, we planned Teen Tech Week activities such as the TTW Scavenger Hunt (linked here) wherein students earn points based on the activities selected. Following @TheNHSLibrary on twitter or downloading the YALSA Teen Book Finder app is worth 5 points each, whereas more complex tasks such as creating a bookish meme or a library PSA video are worth more. Students have the week to earn as many points in the hunt as possible. Thanks to a donation from our Parent-Teacher Committee, we are able to provide Amazon, Google Play, or iTunes gift cards as prizes to students who earn the most points in the Teen Tech Week Scavenger Hunt.
One of our more popular components of Teen Tech Week is the History of Technology exhibits on display throughout the library space. My open email to the staff requesting donations of old technology received an overwhelming response. Turns out people are reluctant to throw away ancient tech, but are thrilled to donate it to the library! I was amazed by the variety and age of some of the pieces including Brownie cameras from the 1940s and a still-working Apple IIGS. The faculty and staff have also been drawn to the exhibits and find endless entertainment in watching students try to boot up the computer, put a disc in the drive, panic when the drive cranks, and attempt to navigate basic prompts and document interface.
Each day, we offer Teen Tech Week Workshops during lunch periods with the collaboration of student clubs. Our goal is to have a club ‘adopt’ a day to organize and lead. Ideally, the club is responsible for creating the activity of the day and can use the opportunity to promote their club. We have worked with the Robotics Club, the Environmental Club, the “Choose-to-be-Nice” Club, several programming clubs There is always at least one adult available to ensure the students have everything they need. We also have a small group of student tech leaders who are familiar with the workshop topic to help. Depending on the clubs involved, some workshops have changed from last year and some remained the same. Workshops from this year and last include:
We are continually striving to make improvements. The Technology Integration Specialist was awarded a grant for a 360-degree camera which will allow us to make our own virtual reality videos. We are also adding a social media component by promoting the hashtag of #sparkchange to highlight how students are already living the theme: be the source of change. We have designed signs (linked here) that say “I #sparkchange by…” that students can complete with how they affect change in their world. The “Choose to be Nice” Club will be taking pictures of students holding these signs which will also be posted in the student lobby. When assembled together, the signs create an image of Needham High School with the text “Needham High School - Let’s #sparkchange!”
Each year, we reflect on how to make improvements to the Teen Tech Week program, especially in terms of increasing student participation and ensuring that each year’s program is engaging and fresh. We are always excited to connect with other educators and would love suggestions on how to make our Teen Tech Week program stronger!
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:
Attendees gathered in the Great Hall to hear an introductory speech given by Headmaster Federico (our principal - a convincing, enthusiastic, and unflappable presence throughout the afternoon) that set expectations for the event. They then entered the library and pulled a miniature scroll that, when unrolled, revealed the school into which they were sorted. Next, they helped themselves to snacks and were allowed to choose one major craft - first come, first served. Their choices were:
The final activity saw students of the four schools engaging in lively matches of Conscriptio (aka Pictionary) in competition with each other. Finally, prizes were awarded for most creative crafts and winners of Conscriptio. In addition, one of our teachers donated a jar of jelly beans and a Pop Voldemort, both of which were handed out to the student who came closest to the actual number of jelly beans contained in the jar.
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.
In addition, we ordered new seating options, which included modular soft-style armchairs with attached desks, high-top tables and chairs, a couple of sofas and an area rug (since we were unable to replace the existing carpet), as well as two collaboration stations with Apple TV capabilities. The walls received a fresh coat of paint in complementary blues, and two large whiteboards on wheels were ordered for the space to enhance instruction and brainstorming sessions (the space already housed an LCD projector and screen). In addition, the circulation desk was moved to a more prominent and central location in the room, allowing for easier supervision and increased visibility of library staff.
Student response to our changes have been very positive. We’ve noticed increased productivity in their use of the space; classroom teachers have been bringing their students to the library more regularly to make use of the space; we’ve been able to host more than one class at a time (in addition to study students) because of the more efficient floor plan; and I have been able to deliver better organized research instruction to students. Students have also been very appreciative of the myriad of seating options available to them now. They are no longer limited to the uncomfortable hard-backed library chairs and tables.
Finally, we’ve been able to promote the library as more of an HHS community space. In conjunction with makerspace resources, we’ve been able to host various workshops for students and staff. A sample of these workshops include building phone chargers with upcycled Altoid tins, sewing for charity, learning to code in Scratch, and more. All in all, we’ve been quite pleased with our renovation and that we were able to make some significant changes within budget!
Librarian: Kate Payne
Saugus High School Library Website
The decision to genreify the fiction collection was a big one for me. I knew that the project would involve a significant change to the organization of the library. I am alone in the library and am the only librarian in my district, so I knew the project would be wholly up to me. After getting approval from my principal, I decided to do the project over the summer. I brainstormed with several English teachers was able to brainstorm with several teachers in the English department, who were excited about the project and happy to give their input. I also talked to some students, who thought the project was a good idea.
I started re-categorizing the fiction call numbers before the end of the year. This way I would have a starting point when I walked in over the summer. When I began the project in July, I used tables to organize the fiction books into genres. I used the list of fiction books that I had already generated to pull books from the shelves. These re-categorized books were the easy ones: books that I knew well and was able to put into genres without having to think too hard.
Once I had these books in piles, I went back and sorted through the stragglers and weeded, which helped me remove a lot of old and outdated fiction. I used genre stickers rather than creating new call number labels for the books because I wanted students to be able to easily distinguish between the sections.
Next, I had to move the reference section to where the fiction collection had been, and then move the biographies to the reference area. This was particularly challenging on a 90 degree day in July with no air conditioning, but it was worth it. The old fiction collection had been on short shelves that are crowded together and hard to see, so I wanted to move them to a more visible area. Once I was done moving books, I was able to measure the shelves and allocate space for the new fiction sections. All time considered, the project took three and a half weeks.
The fiction genres I chose to use are: Realistic, Historical, LGBTQ, Sports, Romance, Dystopian, Fantasy, SciFi, Mystery/Thriller, Horror/Paranormal, and Classic. I recently added a Magical Realism section because I couldn't reconcile putting books like Bone Gap and Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies into either Realistic or Fantasy, and the English teachers and I are beginning to market Magical Realism to the students. I decided to use a separate LGBTQ sticker after talking to the gay-straight alliance students. I don't know that this would work at every school, but my students felt it would beneficial to have a separate LGBTQ fiction section, and it has worked well so far.
Even though we are only partway through the school year, I can confidently say that the project has been a success. Saugus does not give a lot of money to libraries or to schools, and there is not a huge reading culture here. It often feels like an uphill battle to be the first librarian that students have seen, but I have already had a huge increase in checkouts for fiction. Some of this is due to the help of my awesome English teacher colleagues (the senior English teachers in particular are focusing on free voluntary reading this year, and we have been working together to promote books and get students more interested in reading for fun), but I also have seen significantly more students coming into the library on their own to check out books for the first time. Advocating for libraries and reading can be challenging, time consuming, and fraught with emotional challenges, but taking on a project like this makes me feel good to be where I am. Even in a district with fewer resources and advocates, I can make a difference, even if it is a small one.
Librarian: Ariel Dagan
Tri County Regional Vocational High School Library Media Center
Students at Tri County spend their time split among seventeen vocational programs and regular academic classes. This learning environment creates multiple opportunities to engage with students and staff around assignments and projects.
The Library Media Center at Tri County is a hub for all patrons to pursue their passions with the help of diverse resources, and the large space allows them to reflect and seek what their curious minds crave. Our learning communities take advantage of the wealth of online resources offered. These resources provide access to information and enable patrons to participate in interactive learning communities in multiple ways.
Here are a few examples of the ongoing ways our patrons engage with the Library Media Center:
Librarian: Linda Coviello
Lane Book Blog
Lane Biblio-Tech Website
Lane Elementary is a vibrant 3rd-5th grade school in Bedford, a wonderful community in the Metrowest area. Supportive parents, staff, administrators and community partners all contribute to a strong educational message to students, and this translates into strong school libraries.
One year ago, our Technology Administrator broached the subject of transitioning the Library into a blended Makerspace. My principal was enthusiastic. I, a little less so, agreed. My concerns:
We embarked on numerous site visits for guidance.
I was extremely fortunate that some items were already in place at various spots around the school, so we simply collaborated and consolidated them into the library program. Other items came from grants, donations, yard sales, thrift store finds, book fair funds, and creative budgeting. I scrounged for carts to use as movable storage. My goal was that the widely varied activities would connect to literacy in some way and reach a variety of learning styles.
I turned to project-based learning as a model. I wanted to maintain the literary aspect of the library by combining the topic of a book, article or website reading with an activity, alternating between low and high tech. My mantra became “Try...fail. Try again...fail better!” I collected recyclables, enlisted donations (fabric, yarn, Legos) and spent my supply budget on Spheros and accessories, and I spent my book budget on author/illustrator visits and Skype sessions.
We started out small. One project involved reading a Wright Brothers biography and then making bamboo dragonflies and paper airplanes. Students utilized Google apps to create book bin tags, children's book quote posters, and shelfies. We played with Sumo paint (a free, web-based art program introduced to the students by David Biedrzycki) and created mandalas after reading “Rickshaw Girl” by Mitali Perkins. Students programmed Spheros to bowl, then taught them to navigate around obstacles, and we also adapted the LEGOS robotics unit. A bonus budget got spent on Meccano Meccanoid G15 robots that I had seen (and fallen in love with) at a Barnes & Noble Maker Faire, and I wrote a grant for 2 Afinia 3D printers. I even got our PTO to fund author Deborah Lee Rose to relate the 3D printers to her story of how a bald eagle received a prosthetic, 3D-printed beak!
Additional sessions included a tinker table (taking apart old technology), creating I Spys, arts and crafts (decoupage, origami, drawing, coloring, bookmarks, weaving), building "significant literary objects" out of LEGOs, writing Poet-ographies, building a water jug igloo, doing part of the Hour of Code curriculum, playing with Makey Makeys, and many other small projects. We also created a student-run magazine for creative writing. We even participated in the school garden, raised 2 guinea pigs, and housed 15 baby chicks until they were sufficiently big enough to stay outdoors in our own chicken coop!
At the end of it all, I came back to literacy and coordinated the Summer Reading program.
The students were engaged and enthusiastic, the administrative response overwhelmingly positive. I was exhausted, so far out of my comfort zone, but encouraged. There were certainly trade-offs: less time for traditional library skills or research, and even book exchange suffered occasionally when maker activities took more time than expected. But the positives? Student engagement, increased collaboration with my technology partners, a boost in relevancy in the eyes of my administrators, and compliments from parents raving about their child's follow-up interest in library activities.
With one year under our belts, I feel that the shift in programming was successful. The plan for 2016-17 is to follow the model, refine it, and to continue to evolve as technology changes. The future role of traditional Libraries may be uncertain, but the importance of teaching our young minds to read, think, design, innovate and create will never be irrelevant.
Librarian: Patsy Divver
Millis Middle/High School Library Website
Millis Middle School/High School Website
Millis is a small combined middle and high school library, serving about 800 students. There are a dozen desktops, a cart of Chromebooks, and fifteen Nooks. Students can search the internet, library collection, and databases from numerous devices and spaces.
The “Nook Nook” and the College Corner are favorite spaces for students to “hang out”, and the decor is artwork from Middle and High School Classes. Middle and High School students come to the library from classes, study halls, before, during and after school, and it’s a challenge to keep everyone ‘happy’.
However, here are some “success stories” for connecting and collaborating all the grades:
High School students from our Creative Writing and Speech classes read to Middle School students for Dr. Seuss’s birthday, holidays, and the annual Scary Story Day, where they read stories they wrote!
Guest authors, such as Jeremy Ames, hold workshops for high school school students in the library. Also, our Middle School Writers Group presents their work in a Showcase event for the public.
This year, we also received a grant to fund Literary Arts Night, featuring student and professional musicians, writers, and singers, in a coffee-house setting.
Librarian : Dee Kohler
Mill Pond School Media Center Website
Mill Pond School Website
This past March, our 4-6 school participated in a March Madness Battle of the Books. We started the month off with a flash mob featuring many teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, office staff, and tutors. Here’s the video our local TV produced for us:
School Librarian: Heidi Boulogne
Josiah Quincy Elementary School Library Website
Josiah Quincy Elementary School Website
We have a twenty-two station media lab with a mounted large screen TV. The lab includes five touch screen monitors with jumbo size keyboards and voice-to-text features. Digital lesson materials are visually interesting and allow for multiple ways of learning language and comprehension. We are able to accommodate our students with visual impairments, attention deficits, and other disabilities with voice-text features, touch screen monitors, and large keyboards. In this way, we engage all our students with exciting lessons and improve learning by keeping students stimulated and interested. Our entire school community has benefited greatly from this interactive library lab!
These new technologies in our library are bringing us closer to achieving our mission that all our children are 21st century learners!
Westborough High School Library was awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant for $5000 from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for the 2015-2016 school year.
NAMI In Our Own Voice (IOOV) :
In a program of the National Alliance of Mental Illness, two young adult presenters will tell their personal recovery stories from mental illness, through the framework of 5 stages of recovery:
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga is an opportunity to feel your body, allow you to make choices for yourself based on what you feel.Key theoretical underpinnings include: Neuroscience, Complex Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory & Developmental Trauma. Resources and recent publications by David Emerson and Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk highlight the scientific significance of yoga-related trauma treatment. Goals: Engage the interoceptive pathways in the brain; Empowerment; Rebuilding and/or strengthening our relationships with ourselves and others.
Educating the Educator:
Part I - Physician Perspective “ The Biological Nature of Mental Illness:
Part II - Family Perspective: “Walk in My Shoes”
Part III - Teacher Perspective: “Where Do We Go From Here”
Resources, Empathy Building, Understanding: “Strong School mental health programs can attend to the health and behavioral concerns of students, reduce unnecessary pain and suffering and help ensure academic achievement.”
Local veterans are invited to participate in a Writing Marathon sponsored by Westborough Reads Together and Westborough High School Library on Thursday April 7. Laura Harrington, author of award winning book, Alice Bliss, will co-facilitate the marathon with WHS educators. Small group discussion, a few 10 minute writing sessions and whole group sharing.
In six years, the Canton High School Library has undergone dramatic changes. Physically, the spacious library (previously the gymnasium before the school renovation in 2004), was weeded of nearly 6,000 print books and five large bookcases.
Inspired by Dartmouth High School’s Hybrid Dewey organization, the CHS library just completed its reorganization by subject area (examples include European History, Psychology, STEM, Sports and Memoirs). In addition, we have “genrefied” all of our Fiction books. As a result of our efforts, students are more successful in finding a book that meets their academic or personal needs. The circulation of our books, along with a renewed school emphasis on independent reading, has nearly doubled!
Librarian-Teacher collaboration has also significantly increased. Students are given mini informational literacy lessons when classroom teachers come to the library and last fall a new “Library Bootcamp” class was taught to freshmen. The CHS Library has become the district’s center for Professional Development as we regularly host faculty, curriculum and mentor meetings and our space is frequently used by community groups and clubs in the evening.
Our flexible space and furniture has enabled the library to be transformed into Ellis Island for a US History class and a crime scene for a Forensics class. We host classroom debates, poetry aloud events and listening lunches where our chorus, jazz and music technology classes perform for faculty and students. Last year we created a dedicated “makerspace” area and have chess, puzzles and coloring available to students and will be adding more makerspace activities in the future. Last year during World Languages Week, we hosted an African Drumming class and this year we will have Salsa Dancing!
Lastly, we have developed a wonderful, collaborative relationship with our Art Department. Our walls and space are adorned with CHS student art work. Drawings, sculpture, photography and coffee and end tables have been created by our talented students and can be seen throughout the space.
Library Media Specialist: Rachel Bouhanda
Credit Recovery Coordinator/ Library Assistant: Jeff Bernoth
Library Clerk: Joni Mitza
Virtual Learning Commons Website
The library shelves have been condensed on the floor to create an open space and more seating for students and staff to work. New books are showcased at the front of the Learning Commons in addition to rotating displays, which are maintained by the school’s community service class students.
Studio B, our TV studio, received an update from donated equipment from BATV and we continue to upgrade with an additional year long Television Production class added to our curriculum this past fall. Students in the AV Club produce a news announcement segment Tuesday to Friday during our advisory block.
One of the Library’s storage areas has been re-invented to create a video editing lab with six MAC computers to use iMovie. A few classes have already started using the space, but it is still in the beginning stages.
One of my most important tasks is collaboration with the staff in the building. A first grade teacher, the literacy coach and myself implemented two collaborative projects this past year. One was on nocturnal animals and the other was using the book Perfect Pairs, Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2 by Melissa Stewart and Nancy Chesley supported by a grant through the Dennis Yarmouth educational foundation. I use Symbaloo in my computer classes to make sure my lessons are targeted and the students are using the proper websites. I have the link on my teacher page on the school’s website so the students can access it from home. The staff in the building works hard to create a school wide culture of reading.
Media Center Website Co-Librarians: Paula Cross and Kristin T.J. Foti
Methuen High School, a Comprehensive High School of approximately 1800 students, has just completed a 3 year renovation that transformed the Media Center from a dated, open concept space to a bright, accessible, and accommodating learning environment. The mission of the media center is to empower students to be critical thinkers, seekers of ideas, ethical users of information, lifelong learners and readers through instruction, collaboration, and programming. 2014-2015 has been a busy year in the Media Center. In addition to approximately 70 classes and 3600 students visiting the Media Center per month, 30,000 print materials were re-shelved and interfiled in the newly opened space, we redesigned our Freshman orientation program, began to administer pre and post assessments of Works Cited pages, started utilizing the new space for co-curricular displays; developed a school-wide reading program called “What Am I Reading?” (a competition between faculty members to advertise their reading and promote reading throughout the school); continued an extensive web site redevelopment; created space for the Early Childhood Development students to observe the librarians reading to the pre-school students; advised a 40+ student Books and Bagels reading club that participated in 8 monthly book discussions, fundraising, and a field trip; collaborated on grant funded initiatives; our relationship with the Nevins Memorial Library staff has continues to amaze and their support to our students and faculty is unparalleled. As the year winds down, we are wrapping up our instruction and research projects. While we look forward to the end of the year, there is still work to be done to prepare for the summer reading program and reopening in the Fall to another year of exciting initiatives and student development.
Librarian: Sheila Geraty (also a 2015 MSLA Super Librarian!) Associate Librarian: Becky Keller
Brookwood School is a Pre-K – Grade 8 independent school in Manchester, MA. The library is a comfortable, open, light-filled space with the adjacent Shlopak Library housing lower school print, audio, and DVD collections. In the last three years, the library began using LibGuides to develop targeted web resources designed to enrich and support specific curriculum. Dedicated parent volunteers are integral to the success and the vibrancy of the Brookwood Library as well. Each spring, Upper School students are engaged with in-depth social studies research that requires print materials, databases, and web resources. Students share their work with teachers using GoogleDocs, EasyBib, and NoodleTools for organization and citation. During this time of year, the students are immersed in poetry as they prepare for the Harold W. Wise Declamation, one of the few formal traditions at Brookwood. Poet Douglas Florian regaled students and teachers during his visit in April, inspiring many to dig deeper into the poetic form. But, most importantly, the library seeks to inspire readers by creating a school-wide culture of reading. Programs like, One School, One Book, Upper School Book Club, Mystery Book of the Month films, Faculty book reading programs, and author visits generate enthusiasm.
Library Website Librarian: Reba Tierney (who is also a 2015 MSLA Super Librarian!)
Here at Burke High School we are blessed with a beautiful physical library space. There is plenty of light and openness, creating a visually pleasing but highly functional space for class visits as well as oasis for students who come in to study or work independently. Spring is a very busy season for us! Several teachers utilize our space and resources for a variety of projects. Senior Research Papers are always a big collaborative effort. Students spend several weeks researching, revising and typing their papers. Another recent collaborations is with Ms. Rodny’s Studio Art Class. Her students have begun their research papers which will culminate in each student teaching a class in the style of the artist they have chosen to study. They are using the PBS sponsored website www.art21.org to research and choose an artist. Our student Book Club is alive and well and continues to meet during lunches to have general and directed book discussions. Our library is located directly above The Grove Hall Branch of the BPL, so the Young Adult librarian will come up and participate in Book Club. This connection builds and fosters relationships with the Public Library, and exposes our students to the wider world of resources available through the Boston Public Library.
The Dracut High School Learning Commons has been a renovation of space, attitude, and culture. The renovation of Dracut High School was completed in September 2014. We are now in what was the old gymnasium with high ceilings and a gorgeous wall of windows overlooking the athletic fields. In late August, 14 senior interns and I began going through boxes of books and weeding materials before shelving. New materials arrived. In particular, lots of new fiction that was recommended by our students to freshen up the collection. Thanks to lots of input from lots of MSLA members at the UNconference, we now have a website that is user-friendly and provides access to databases and our new catalog, Follett Destiny! The last few months have been very busy with so many big changes. Most importantly our students and staff are thrilled to use the space for events like Poetry Out Loud, class discussions, and career seminars. Our computers are used all the time, couches and comfy chairs are moved for collaboration, laptops are brought in, books are being checked out, and lots of productivity is happening!
This month we’re championing the work done by a group of PTA volunteers to reinstate a library program in the Commonwealth! Last year, parents responded quickly to proposed library budget cuts by the Swampscott School District. Their hard work, along with advocacy from MSLA Executive Board members, led to a recent Grand Opening Celebration at the Hadley Elementary School… and the promise of a professional librarian at the middle school next year and elementary the year after.
“We have come a long way!” says Melissa DeFilippi, PTA co-president. Today they have 7,000 books logged in a new e-catalog at Hadley, all done by hand by parent volunteers. The e-catalog is installed at all schools in the district. According to DeFilippi, “We could not have lit the fire without MSLA support. There is library buzz at Hadley. The parents are excited, the teachers are excited, and best of all, the children are excited."
Swampscott is well on their way toward having professional library staffing throughout the district. Congratulations again to Melissa DeFilippi and all the Swampscott parent volunteers on being selected for a 2015 MSLA School Library Advocate Award. Read more about the 2015 Award Winners and join us in celebrating everyone at the MSLA Conference in March!
Ninth grade Spanish III students have chosen a holiday theme of interest to use as a basis for writing a children's storybook. After investigating chosen themes, students were required to write drafts of their stories, which were submitted and assessed on content and developing grammatical skills. Each student was provided with feedback that was incorporated into a final copy of the storybook, complete with illustrations, dedication page, and information about the author. Once completed, 6th grade students were invited to the library to enjoy special reading time together with our school's newest authors. As each 9th grade student read their story to their 6th grade 'compañero', a conversation ensued that allowed each reading buddy the opportunity to share new knowledge and information about the story, the illustrations, the Spanish vocabulary, or just to make connections with a new friend!
Señora Rodriguez deserves much credit, as she is the force behind this collaboration. We are a small middle/high school, and I was thrilled to see such engagement among middle and high school students, with the high school students acting as true mentors. In a combined school such as ours, the library becomes the veritable center of the school. Excluding the hallways, it is the only space where middle and high school students mingle on a daily basis. As all libraries, it serves its users in many ways, offering quiet space to study, comfortable space to lounge and decompress, and classroom use for instruction. Servings users ranging in age from 11-18+ can be tricky; this moment created by Señora Rodriguez highlights what powerful connections a school library can foster.
Executive Director Kathy Lowe
Massachusetts School Library Association
P.O Box 658 Lunenburg, MA 01462