All children have weekly classes in library and are welcome to visit before and after school. The library program excites students about literature, authors, illustrators, the writing process and the evolution of stories into published books. Library classes include quiet reading, library and research skills, creative projects and games, storytelling, dramatics and writing.
A circulating collection of more than 6,000 volumes is fully automated. The collection supports the school’s focus on multiculturalism and social activism as well as the diversity of interests and the needs of students and teachers. Books, periodicals, and internet resources support students’ research.
The library is a place where reading becomes both an informative and joyful experience. Students learn to critique and recommend favorite books and authors to one another. Even 4- and 5-year-olds discuss what drew them to a book, what they liked or disliked about it, and why. Sixth-graders, whose job for the school it is to be library helpers, learn the Dewey decimal system and how to shelve, check out and care for books.
Professional authors, storytellers and illustrators are invited to speak in the library several times each year, funded in part through the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. Parents and others participate in the program through birthday book donations, storytelling night and other events. Trips to New York City’s public libraries are also regular parts of the program.
A special focus of the program is the annual Living the Dream Book Award. Fifth-graders work closely with the librarian and two public schools to select a children’s book that extends the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. The author and illustrator are invited to accept the award in person.