I'd like to thank everyone for the warm welcome I was given into the Gateway community. I hope that I can return the warmth to you and your students when you visit our libraries. Before I tell you what's new or on the horizon for our libraries, let me introduce myself, briefly. I was born and raised over the "hill" in Westhampton and attended Hampshire Regional High School (a long, long time ago). I have a degree in political science with a minor in journalism from UMass, and a M.Ed. in English Education. I taught English for 13 years in Maine, Japan, and in Northampton, MA. I was the director, curriculum writer, and teacher for the Northampton Alternative High School Program, and helped design and run the Florence Learning Center (another alternative high school program connected to Northampton High School). When my daughter was born, I made what seemed like a natural transition from English teacher and program supervisor to school librarian, working for the last five years as the sole librarian for the Chestnut Accelerated Middle School in Springfield, MA. I left there to join y'all here at Gateway.
Before I write about what's coming up, I wanted to remind everyone that we have a number of new books in the library (fresh out of the boxes) that are displayed on the center bookshelf in front of the library desk. If you your your students are interested in seeing the full list of new titles, you can find there at this link: NEW BOOKS
We are already in the process of planning some exciting changes for the library that should be in motion, at least, by the beginning of next year - if not sooner. Among these are:
1) combining the junior high and high school fiction sections to increase access for all students to a wider range of books that are appropriate and engaging;
2) Creating a new, fifth and sixth grade fiction section and reading area in the back of the library and growing this section to include more current, popular, and engaging titles specifically geared towards this age-group.
3) Creating a "Distance Learning Room" at the back of the library which will be used for video conferencing projects (interviews, virtual classrooms, class-to-class discussions with schools around the country and around the world, live, distance learning field trips (art galleries, museums, historical sites, etc.), and more...
4) At the Elementary School Level, increasing my presence and involvement in the programming at Chester and Littleville, and working with the library volunteers, administration, and individual classroom teachers to expand student and teacher access to text, internet, and human resources to expand their knowledge and understanding of the wider world around them;
5) Expanding the teacher resource section (this has already begun - come check out the "new" books and the great collection of anthologies of short stories, poetry, and non-fiction that's been added - just in time for the new "literacy standards" that are part of the Common Core Curriculum.
6) Creating opportunities for the librarian (me) to do more "out-reach" in the classrooms, to help with research instruction and guidance, and to introduce students (and teachers) to other, more non-traditional resources available through the internet and through video conferencing, etc.
Our goal is to make the library a welcoming and well-used space for a wide variety of learning and sharing activities. Your feedback is welcome AND encouraged. Please feel free to post comments, suggestions, concerns, etc. in the comments field at the bottom of this post (or send them to me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lyn and I are looking foward to seeing you in the library!
Bill and Lyn