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Reviewed by Elior L.

This book is about a boy named Percy. He lives in the modern age where there are also Greeks. He and his friends have to stop Kronos from taking over the world. The minor gods are helping Kronos because the big gods are always overshadowing them. I think this is a good book because it has a lot of action! If you love adventures this is the book for you. It has a lot to do with Greek myths. Anyways, I think this is a good book for anybody.

I would recommend the book to a friend.

Reviewed by Jamie B.
Zlata's Diary is about a girl named Zlata, who lived during the war in Sarajevo. She kept a diary in which she would write about her life right before and towards the end of the war. Zlata would write about what was going on with her friends and family, like her mom's work building burn down because of a shell that fell on it. I enjoyed this book, and I do recommend this to others.

Reviewed by Rebecca B.
This story is about these dolls that took an oath to keep their lives secret. There are three books in the series. I read the last book. It is about four dolls who figured out that they had the wrong baby with the set. The dolls' parents didn't believe them, so they decided to leave. On their adventure they got stuck in the woods. Then they got stuck in a toy department. There was only one problem, they were limited on their time. The owners would return in two weeks. If you want to know if they made it back, then you will have to read this book to find out.

I would recommend this book to a friend.

Reviewed by Evelyn M.

Robison Crusoe was an amazing book! The story is about a man named Robinson who survived 20 years on a stranded island. I love this book because I love adventure books. Robinson is very brave and strong. If I were to choose Robinson or Captain Jack Sparrow to survive with on an island (even though Jack is not in the book), I would choose Robinson because I could trust him.

I would recommend this book to a friend.

"I really didn't realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group. They are subversive. You think they're just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn't mess with them."
Michael Moore, author and filmmaker

My last blog was about the State of the MJGDS Library. While there are challenges that need to be resolved in order to create a fully-functioning library, this also presents many opportunities. These opportunities pave the way to a 21st Century Library. In today’s technology-driven world, information literacy is critical for building a foundation for success. Our children are growing up in a global, knowledge-based world, inundated with technology. To remain relevant, school libraries must adapt by integrating those 21st century technologies into their modes of operation. So what would an ideal 21st century school library comprise?

Library Purpose

Remember when libraries, whether school, public, or academic, consisted of row after row of bookshelves interspersed with tables where students would work mostly independently? The process of information gathering has changed. Libraries are no longer mere book depositories. Today, they are lively places where learners retrieve, create, and share knowledge. Our children are growing up in a world where print sources alone do not fill their information needs. In fact, students typically use the Web as their primary source of information. They are using electronic sources and engage in electronic sharing of information. The MJGDS library aspires to be an active and collaborative learning environment.

None of this means that we should do away with books. In fact, our library would have a quality collection of books, relevant to all readers: fun books for our emergent readers to instill in them a lifelong love of reading, different genre books for our readers who are exploring old and new interests, and curriculum-supportive books for our teachers.

At the same time, our library would be technology-driven with students retrieving information from websites, wikis, and blogs. In the MJGDS library, students would not simply use technology, but learn to be discerning consumers of information -- and become information literate: able to locate, evaluate, organize, add value to, and present information in a meaningful way. In the process, they would develop critical thinking skills. In fact, our students would master the 21st century information environment through well-developed literacy skills.

Library Space

What should you see when you walk into our 21st century library? While the role of libraries has been changing, libraries remain integral to any school community -- they are the heart of the school. As a space for teaching and learning, the MJGDS library and media center is a local information hub, where the school community gathers to learn, research, or engage in projects.

Our library must be a user-focused learning environment. The library must reflect the new media environment of which our children are a part. Upon entering the MJGDS library--the doors are always open--you should feel welcome. It must be an attractive space where areas for different age groups are highlighted by colorful walls. Colorful flooring adds to the sensory experience. There should be flexible furniture that allows for multiple seating configurations to accommodate collaborative as well as individual work. And there should be a variety of comfortable seating. Signage would be large and clear and displays, both librarian- and student-created, would inspire interests.

The library should house various resources to support the school’s learning goals. Books, of course, are essential -- in print and electronic formats. Students could check out e-readers and mp3 players to read or listen to books, depending on their preferred learning style. There are databases accessible for curriculum support. In the wireless environment, students can freely use tablets and laptops.

The library’s virtual presence is equally important. For our students, it would be invaluable to have virtual access to the library catalog and databases as needed. A library blog allows us to interact within our school community and link with the much larger global community.

Library Collaboration

It is important to recognize the library as integral to all teaching and learning at the school. While traditionally, school libraries have been viewed as a resource much like physical education, art, or music, our 21st century library views its role as more “organic” to the classroom curriculum. The MJGDS library programming should be integrated into the curriculum. Rather than scheduled 30 or 45-minute weekly blocks in the library, where lessons are taught independently from the classroom curriculum, lessons must be planned collaboratively with the classroom teachers. Teaching information literacy skills, for example, applied to an actual research topic, are more valuable to our students.

Conclusion

Getting to Library21 is not an easy task. It takes new resources, yes, but also new practices. One must be open-minded to new ideas and flexible enough to try them out. It’s a journey that requires evaluation and reflection. Somewhere I read that the library should really be called a “libratory” -- where students are engaged in a book- and media-rich environment. I look forward to collaborating with everyone to make sure we achieve the truest, most-expansive Library21 reality possible! Above all, please know that I am here to help!

1

I have been in my new position as librarian at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School for two months and I am so excited to be here! With my background serving a higher education environment, I have found myself faced with many new joys, challenges and opportunities. I especially enjoy meeting and working with the children as well as the challenge of finding THE right book to please a young reader’s specific tastes while meeting her teacher’s AR level requirements! I have begun meeting our 4th graders for guided reading sessions and studying Simon Wiesenthal’s “The Sunflower” with our 8th graders.

The effectiveness of any library cannot be determined solely through an assessment of its holdings. A poorly organized collection may compromise even the best-resourced library. Alternatively, a well-organized library with an effective catalog can maximize patron utilization with even meager library resources. Obviously, the library has been in a state of disarray for some time. I found the library very disorganized. Many of the books are also in disrepair with torn spines and loose or missing pages. Daily, I find books on the shelves for which there are no records in our online catalog. This means that the item can only be located through browsing the shelves, making it inaccessible through a search in the online catalog and thereby rendering the catalog ineffective. Access is also hampered by the fact that due to the age of our collection, the labels of many of the books have fallen off. The collection’s age contributes to my growing sense of disconnect between faculty needs and the collection itself. This is doubtless enhanced by the disorganized state of the collection in general. My goal as the librarian at MJGDS is to help ensure both maximum utilization of the resources we have, while being an effective advocate for enhancing resources overall.

Continuous assessment of several library performance measures can help assure that an effective overlap exists between utilization of the library’s resources and the needs of our students and faculty. At all times, the primary goal is to help assure maximum utilization of library resources while continuously being mindful of the changing needs and interests of our students and faculty. This is achieved primarily through the maintenance of, for example, circulation statistics, operations budget, and facilitating classroom instruction. My goal is to help students and faculty in any way I can to make the most of the resources we have.

As I think about our library, several performance criteria come to mind--including, but not limited to:

  • User needs
  • Physical condition of the collection
  • Organization of the collection
  • Appropriateness of the collection
  • Currency of the collection
  • Scope of the collection (print v. electronic)
  • Utilization of the collection
  • Curricular resources for teachers
  • Staffing


  • The top priority for improving library utilization is putting the collection in order. This includes the removal of outdated and/or damaged books from the collection. This process of “weeding” will also create some much-needed space for new items. Books that are not in the system need to be cataloged. New call number labels need to be applied to books where needed. AR stickers need to be added to all Accelerated Reader program books. New books should be purchased to build and update the collection. Subscriptions to English- and Hebrew-language children’s magazines are needed. And the collection would benefit from a reorganization by genre.

    My vision for our library is to take this opportunity to create a functioning Library and Media Center, fully accessible virtually and physically -- an invaluable resource for our school community. I am calling on volunteers to help create this new space. Please stop by or contact me (karin.hallett@mjgds.org) if you’d like to lend a hand.