After weeks of anticipation, the Blackstone Library is open for classes! Since the school year began, I have been asked on a daily basis when the library will open, by students and teachers alike. Before officially opening for classes, the library held a preview week in which librarians visited classrooms to introduce the class’s time in the library and read stories. Students were already requesting books to read aloud throughout the school year and inquiring about books available for checkout in the library’s collection.
This year marks the seventh year of the library’s existence under the leadership of St. Stephen’s Youth Programs. Previously, the Blackstone did not have a library! During our after-school programming, we saw first hand the side effects of this lack of access to books in the reading ability of our Blackstone students. The library is staffed by volunteers and now welcomes twenty classes on a regular basis.
This month, we are spotlighting National Hispanic Heritage Month by reading a variety of picture books, short fictional stories, biographies, and bilingual books that celebrate Hispanic culture and Hispanic heros. In a fifth grade class, we discussed where in the library we would look to find books about well-known Hispanic people. A student quickly raised her hand and gave the correct answer: the biography section, which is in the nonfiction section, and is marked with blue dots on the book spine. We then named Hispanic leaders that we might look up. A student raised her hand named Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as an important leader with Hispanic heritage. Another great answer! Down the hall from the library is a mural of Justice Sotomayor, which was painted by volunteers last Martin Luther King Day. A framed picture of the mural also hangs in the office of Justice Sotomayor!
To learn more about the Blackstone Library, become a volunteer, or to learn more about the partnership between St. Stephen’s and the Blackstone, contact Maureen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Maureen Burns, Lead Organizer of School and Community Partnerships