Remember when going to the library meant having to sit in silence and the librarian was some intimidating lady with cat glasses who whispered, "SHHH!" every five seconds?
Students in the Los Altos School District will never know this fear thanks to the amazing librarians that grace each of the campuses. Not only do these professionals help students find appropriate books for their age groups and offer extensive research assistance on computers, they welcome questions and begin lively conversations IN THE LIBRARY.
On any given day in the district schools, students can be seen listening to wonderous tales told by librarians who hand-pick books to encourage further learning. At the same time, students have access to a number of computers and research programs to help them find materials for classroom projects and explore their own individual areas of interest. And the librarians also offer lunchtime programs to help students discover the love of reading through hands-on projects and fun games.
Thanks to Los Altos Education Fund grants and programs, each school not only has a library professional, but the campus libraries also house thousands of volumes that offer the latest best-sellers alongside classics and research books that assist students with social studies, Language Arts and science curriculum.
Loyola librarian Kareen Burns, who was just named the new District Library Coordinator, explained she will "set the tone" to help each library move forward. "Libraries aren't just about books anymore," she noted. "There has been so much external change in how people get information that we need to be sure we offer students a variety of ways they can access that information."
Burns also explained how the State of California has placed standards on school libraries so that libraries are now considered a subject area in academics. In an effort to help all students explore the centers and offer more assistance, when the libraries are closed to classes, librarians can been seen helping children individually and assisting students in evaluating websites.
"Sometimes students need some extra time to find that perfect book, and we want each child to enjoy everything the library offers," Burns mused.
To help engage students, many of the libraries offer Birthday Book Clubs in which students pick an extra book of interest from some new purchases thanks to parent contributions. Librarians and volunteer parents have worked hard this year to make each room festive and adorned with classic characters from award-winning volumes and colorful places to sit and enjoy a good book.
Librarians this year include: Chie Shieh, Springer; Celia Forrest, Oak; Sherry Hakes, Almond; Tania Granoff, Santa Rita; Kareen Burns, Loyola; Tania DeRego, Gardner Bullis; Maureen Drobot, Covington; Cindy Andrews, Blach Intermediate School and Carol Love, Egan Junior High.