Private School Visits

Breck’s Elementary library

Very large circulation area.  

I was very excited that AASL11 was offering school tours. I must say, both school were quite impressive! the libraries where HUGE! We are talking K-12 schools.

At the Breck School there were three libraries total. A beautiful elementary library, a small middle school library and an inviting high school library. Each fulfilled the needs of its age group. I must say I was jealous of the space in the elementary library.

They have some very nice reading programs and a wonderful media center connected to the library. They also run a zero period friends of the library program. A representative from each class meets during this time to discuss events, recommend books and work on library related projects. Even the elementary library participates. I’m not sure if something like that would be beneficial to our library program but it was an intriguing idea.

Self check out computer!

Starting in 2nd grade the library offers self check out. Now tha surprised me! This is certainly something I am mulling over in my head. The head librarian could not praise their self check out program enough. While there, I witnessed a few children come into the library, find a book and then self check out.

Smaller middle school library. 

While the elementary library was a dream, the middle school library was more compact and similar to our library. I was excited to see that we have many of the same books. I could tell that Minneapolis children are interested in the same genre and authors as our Pasadena children. The middle school librarian spoke about their current transition from print reference media to online databases. This very idea is something that I have had stewing on the back burner. Part of the Breck School’s reasoning is that their middle school library is small and doesn’t have the space for reference books. Of course, today’s learner is not used to finding their information strictly from books. The biggest contributing factor in their switch is to provide their students with good resources from which they can pull information that is not only useful but easy to access. Unfortunately databases are expensive.

Hello tech. department!

Both schools I toured run a 1 to 1 program where each student has their own netbook or notebook depending on their grade. I believe both programs start in 4th grade. The parents pay a technology fee that essentially purchases the computer and pays for the upkeep and refurbishment each summer. The employ an entire technology department that is available for students and teachers should there be issues with their computer. The computers follow the students through graduation.

I didn’t come home with just grand ideas but some fun programs that I think I might doing in our library. When the libraries have an overflow of donated books they put them on a pay it forward shelf. The books are not checked out at all. The students can take a book from the shelf and read it. Once they are done they can pass it on to someone else or bring it back to the shelf. The students can also bring in their own book to add to the shelf.

This is another fun idea. Post a trivia question once a day or once a week. The children submit their answers. All correct answers are put into a drawing to win a bookmark, pencil, free book, etc. I really like this idea!

All in all, the tours were interesting. I enjoyed seeing how other libraries are organized and run. I was happy to note that our library is right on par with these larger libraries. Now I have some things to think about. Perhaps I can implement or adapt some of their library programs for our wonderful library.

Look at all those librarians!

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