In this era of having information at our collective fingertips, from virtual assistants and powerful search engines to eBooks and social media, information literacy and critical thinking skills are crucial components of every student’s education. A well-stocked and organized school library staffed by a professional librarian is key to imparting these skills to young minds, supporting our mission, and encouraging them to approach information and learning with an enthusiastic, thoughtful, analytical eye.
Benefits of a Large School Library
A large school library is an opportunity for learning to flourish, favorite authors to be discovered, new information to be explored, reading skills to be developed, and a lifelong interest in knowledge and learning to be ignited. Among the many things these magical spaces have to offer are:
Books & Magazines
Of course, a school library is a home to books, magazines, and other materials for students to use, and our over-26,000 title collection is no exception. From plentiful picture books for our youngest students to early readers and chapter books, and finally, to young adult fiction and a full array of eBooks, students can easily locate interesting books to read and enjoy. Our non-fiction collection parallels fiction with age-appropriate resources to support every research activity, school lesson, and student interest.
Encyclopedias & Reference Materials
While many of us think of asking Google or searching Wikipedia for answers these days, print encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and many other resources remain valuable and relevant. Learning to use these basic but valuable tools is a useful skill throughout life.
Group Activity Space
A school library serves many functions beyond reading, research, and checking out books. Whether it’s learning about information literacy, sharing storytime, or working together on projects, the library offers an excellent space for it.
With plenty of space to sit down and explore interesting books or collaborate on research or a project, the library is a flexible, comfortable space for any learning activities. Classroom lessons can easily be expanded into the library space to make full use of the library’s resources, materials, and of course the librarian.
Benefits of a Knowledgeable Librarian
To paraphrase the great biographer, James Boswell, you must have knowledge within you in order to gather more. One of a good school librarian’s many jobs is to encourage students to explore the world of knowledge, not just as a series of facts and details to be memorized but to develop the skills to seek out and evaluate information, and to take joy in learning.
Sharing Love of Knowledge & Reading
From read-aloud times with our youngest students to book clubs with the oldest, a professional librarian can open new worlds to students. Students see the enthusiasm that surrounds reading time and are eager to enjoy and explore with their own books. A good school librarian frequently adjusts the collection to reflect and support student interests and ensure that books and magazines that spark students’ interests are readily available.
Managing Electronic Resources
Naturally, in this digital age, we offer a full array of grade-appropriate electronic resources for students to use for research and personal interests. Such tools offer access to millions more articles, images, sound, and video files than we could ever house in our spacious library, bringing the world to their fingertips. No longer limited by the physical items available, students can expand their research and gather the fullest picture possible for their writing or research.
Guiding Reading Selections
School librarians pay close attention to the reading level and interests of each student and work closely with classroom teachers to guide students to reading materials that will not only interest them but will challenge them to improve their skills while being entertaining and appealing.
Maintaining an Appropriate Collection
Student interests are always changing and our curriculum is always evolving to provide the best possible learning environment and content. Our librarian works in tandem with our teaching staff and specialists to ensure our library’s resources are available to support and complement classroom work.
Teaching Information Literacy
One of the most critical elements of a school librarian’s job is ensuring students become information literate. This means helping students develop skills related to:
- How to Use Libraries & Find Information — While it may seem quite basic, many people grow to be adults without really learning how to locate materials in a library, how to use an online catalog to identify materials, or how to interpret a book call number. Additional skills include learning how to use online databases and perform effective searches.
- Critical Thinking & Evaluating Online Resources — Critical thinking skills are precisely that — critical, in today’s world. Having a toolbox of resources and skills to examine, evaluate, and objectively interpret information is absolutely vital for students to learn, particularly when exploring online resources such as web pages and news articles.
- Copyright & Plagiarism — The wealth of digital information available with the click of a mouse or a swipe across a screen makes it all too easy for anyone to plagiarize without meaning to. Learning about copyright, plagiarism, and how to avoid such missteps is an important skill for all students to learn.
Our Library at Las Vegas Day School
To help instill a love of reading and learning, and lifelong information literacy, we incorporate library use and the talents and skills of our knowledgeable librarian at all school levels. Our library curriculum for younger grades includes weekly storytime for our kinderschool students, and literature appreciation, and a problem-solving-based system for learning to identify and locate library resources for elementary-aged students. Middle school students will find library use and curriculum complements their classroom learning throughout their studies.
When considering a school for your child, we know how important it is to consider academics and student to teacher ratios, extracurriculars, and learning environments. We also know how important it is to consider a school’s library and related offerings, taking into account all that a professional librarian can bring to enrich learning. We welcome you to contact us to learn more about our library and our other school facilities.
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