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Library

Fifth and sixth graders have weekly classes in the library. The library program excites students about literature, authors, illustrators, the writing process, and the evolution of stories into published books. Library classes include independent reading, library and research skills and creative projects such as art based on books, storytelling, and writing.
 
The collection is consistently curated and audited for its diversity of themes, subjects, identities and social justice themes. It is the vision of the library to offer every student and community member the opportunity to see themselves and others through the “mirrors and windows” of, not only books, but by giving access to information that can inspire and celebrate a myriad of perspectives, individuals, and groups. We believe it is crucial to our students as they grow into active global citizens that they engage in a broader understanding of the world.
 
The library is a place where reading becomes both an informative and a joyful experience. Students learn to critique books and recommend favorite books and authors to one another. Sixth graders, whose job for the school is to be library helpers -  how to shelve, check out, and care for books.
 
Professional authors, storytellers, and illustrators are invited to speak in the library as part of Book Week and on other occasions. Trips to New York’s public libraries are also regular parts of the program.
 
The majority of the 5th grade library time will be devoted to the MLK Living the Dream Book Award. In collaboration with the 5th grade classes from two public schools, The Children's Workshop School and Central Park East II, we will read, evaluate and discuss a dozen or more picture books, all published the previous year, searching for one that best embodies the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. This yearlong project will culminate in the spring when we invite the award-winning author and illustrator to New York for an award ceremony. At other times, the 5th grade teachers and the librarian collaborate to extend curricular pieces such as research projects, editing and revising, and examining various components of writing.
 
In sixth grade library class, students engage in weekly book discussions about everything from new releases, old favorites, and various genres to social justice themes and the relative merits of content within the books. There is also time devoted to the myriad of ways we find information and why we seek it out. Some of the subtopics we explored are the what, why and hows of research; how the internet affects our search for information, questions and answers; and what we do with the information once we find it. With heightened censorship of literature around the country, we have been discussing the impact of book bans on students, schools, and communities at large. It is our hope that by going deeper with these themes, students will be able to cast a more critical eye towards the literature they read.
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