On February 5th the elementary school librarian Rebecca Beck and librarians from Brooklyn Friends School co-hosted a Friends Council on Education Librarians Peer Network Meeting. Thirty librarians from Quakers schools in the northeast came together to discuss diversity in children’s books. The meeting focused on the idea that books should be a mirror and a window. Every student should see themselves represented in a book and books should also provide a window into a different way of life, culture or experience. Book titles were shared, a presentation was given by Lee and Low Publishers, and the authors Selina Alko and Adam Silvera and the illustrator Sean Qualls participated in a powerful panel discussion about the importance of diversity in children’s books. Rebecca is committed to building a diverse and vibrant library collection for the students of MMFS.
In other library news, Rebecca and Scott Nagel, the elementary school educational technologist, have been working together to teach students research and technology skills. They are teaching students in the Mott, Fox and Fell Rooms how to develop optimum search terms, evaluate search results, and extract important information from websites and the importance of citing that information. Scott and Rebecca introduce these skills in library class by working with students together as a group. As students build their skills, they conduct internet searches on their own. When students move up to the 5th floor, the research work continues, as students discuss the pros and cons of Wikipedia and continue to practice cultivating their evaluation skills.
Scott and Rebecca also offer a digital story making club to students on the fourth floor. Students enjoy writing their own stories using Storybird, a website that provides images and allows students to come up with stories about the images. Scott and Rebecca will soon be offering third floor students a club that introduces the principles of coding. They look forward to continuing to offer students the opportunity to develop their research abilities and gain confidence in their technology skills.