The goal of the JAO Library/Media Center (LMC) is to support the curriculum of the school’s learning community.
The learning community includes: students, staff, and parents. The motto of the LMC is “Read, Explore, Create!”. JAO’s LMC focuses on fostering love of reading, developing information literacy skills, and creating life long learners. The Library/Media Center is a place where students come to learn, apply information retrieval skills, and read. Much effort is made to make the Library/Media Center an inviting and safe place where browsing and exploration can be conducted. Student projects are invited for display. Holiday and current book displays are scheduled and updated regularly, and parents, staff, and students feel welcome.
Parents and community members are welcome to view the Morning News in the LMC each day. The LMC has become a sought after space for meetings and parent education programs because of its inviting atmosphere. Further the LMC hosts the annual Scholastic Book Fair and is always an active part of our twice yearly Family Nights.
The LMC is a flexible space, that offers options for seating. The space includes 5 traditional round tables and chairs, 10 backjack floor chairs, 2 cozy reading chairs in the back of the LMC, and a reading rug with pillows. Low shelving for Easy and Beginning Readers are used so the newest students can easily access their books. Fiction and Non-fiction are located on taller shelves, with 2 stools for student access.
The LMC contains over 14,000 titles, ranging in level from preschool to adult. Besides offering a wide range of secular fiction and non-fiction titles. The LMC also houses a large collection of Judaic Studies resources to supplement the JAO Judaic Studies curriculum. The Judaic Studies resources include books and DVDs, and are available to all members of the learning community. Many of these Judaic Studies books are part of the Gondos Collection. A special grant from the Gondos family provides an annual contribution to further the growth of the collection. Book selections are made by a team which includes the Head of School, Principal, Judaic Studies faculty, Media Specialist, and a member of the donor’s family. The LMC also subscribes to various periodicals including: Scholastic Art, Storyworks, Science World, Scholastic Junior News, and Sports Illustrated for Kids.
Most secular audio-visual are met through online subscriptions, such as BrainPop, or through the Internet. Other audio-visual equipment includes: staff computer, 2 iPads for student use, and a flat screen television with an Apple TV for mirroring. An additional laptop cart and class set of iPads may checked-out through JAO’s Technology department when needed for research purposes.
The LMC uses Alexandria’s library automation software for cataloging and circulation. Alexandria is web-based, and the catalogue is automatically backed up to Alexandria’s servers daily. Students utilize “Scout,” Alexandria’s patron search catalog, on iPads in the LMC to locate resources. Items are cataloged using the Dewey Decimal System.
An “Innovation Station” is also a feature of the LMC. The Innovation Station is the start of our LMC makerspace. The area, consisting of 4 shelves, includes weekly activities, paper, glue, markers, and other items for projects. The Media Center is staffed by a qualified Library Media Specialist with 16 years experience in public and school libraries. Classes visit the LMC on a weekly fixed schedule for a 30 minute long “library class.” Although students attend a library class, the library is not a class, but a service. Staff, parents, and upper elementary students may check out resources at anytime, using self check out. In addition, students may sign up for “Reading Recess” in the LMC on Fridays. Reading Recess provides an opportunity for students to check out books, read, or explore the LMC’s Innovation Station.
All Library/Media Center lessons are planned accordance with American Library Association (ALA) standards. Further the Media Specialist and classroom teachers collaborate on many projects through the school year. Students may check out two books at time, and may take books home. Staff members are permitted to check out as many items as they like and keep them as long as needed. Parents can also check out books from the JAO library. In addition, the media center has its own web site, that includes helpful research links, and online books. The web site allows students to find quality literature and research material from home.
For kindergarten through second grade, students focus on procedures for checking out books, vocabulary related to books, library citizenship, and literature appreciation. Lively storytelling is included in each library class. In addition, students learn proper book care; explore award winning titles, genres, and the Dewey Decimal System.
Starting in third grade, the curriculum shifts to information literacy, with emphasis on research skills, print and online resources, and using the library as a service, instead of just a class. Students develop skills using the The Big 6: Information Problem Solving Model. Students also become reading advocates, creating book recommendations through a variety of medias, including blogs and videos. Lessons on digital etiquette are also included in the curriculum.
The “Birthday Book” program also promotes the library and book collection. Parents are encouraged to purchase a book to honor their child. The student chooses from a selection provided by the Media Specialist. The donations are highlighted on the WJAO morning news broadcast along with The Bookie Monster, a puppet created by the Media Specialist.