I have been working as a librarian for 20 years, first at college and university level (University of Oregon, Temple University, Wentworth Institute of Technology), later at an independent boarding school (St. George’s School, Newport, RI), and finally at Henry Barnard School where I have the opportunity to work with our young learners in Preschool through Grade 5. I love our students’ enthusiasm for reading! The connections they make with the books we read aloud are continually surprising. I guide them in becoming independent users of the library, acquiring skills that are transferable to any library they might use. Together we are building their Information Literacy skills so that they can navigate the complicated information landscape of the 21st century effectively.
The library program has two branches, developing a love of literature, and Information Literacy skills. In developing a love of literature, we engage in reading aloud, examining illustrations, carefully listening to the text, making connections, forming and illustrating mental images, selecting books to borrow, sharing books with friends, effectively browsing the collection, getting exposure to a variety of genres, creating book reviews, participating in reading and voting for the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award, in the Rooster Games, in the all-school read, and in a variety of Reading Week activities. Information literacy activities include developing an understanding of the Dewey Decimal system’s arrangement of information, identifying and making use of the parts of a non-fiction text, developing research skills including searching the online library catalog and online periodical and reference databases and learning to cite sources and use information ethically.
The library also brings in special programs to the school to encourage engagement with the narrative in various forms. Past programs include author talks and an annual Providence Children’s Film Festival Short films program.
Additionally, the library provides lessons on a Giant Traveling Map for one week each year. Aside from teaching our students, I am continually striving to improve the library collection, adding quality new materials and removing dated and worn out materials. I take great pleasure sharing quality literature with our learners as well as guiding them in the development of skills they need to become independent lifelong learners.