National Library Week, from April 19-25, served as a valuable reminder that libraries don’t have to be physically open to serve a purpose, as demonstrated by the Massapequa School District’s team of library media specialists.
They have continued to remain connected to their students by providing ideas for do-at-home activities. Massapequa High School librarians Jill O’Connor and Lynn Reynolds celebrated National Library Week virtually this year by promoting the simple pleasures of reading. They encouraged students to check out e-book and audiobooks and ensured that plenty of titles were available through the library’s Sora app.
Ms. O’Connor (“Fountains of Silence”) and Ms. Reynolds (“Dig”) shared the books they were reading and encouraged their students to do the same. Arielle Isaacson read “Eve the Hunted,” Sofia Dooley was immersed in “Educated” and John Passanante read “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”
McKenna Elementary School librarian Ellen Rosenzweig continued lessons on library skills, particularly on responsible digital citizenship. Students completed worksheets about internet safety, learning how to navigate the web to find trustworthy information and how to protect themselves. She also provided students with ideas for makerspace activities they could do at home, such as building a volcano.
Unqua Elementary School librarian Melinda Alford has offered her students library enrichment activities such as virtual trips to New York City museums, podcasts about folktales and read alouds by famous actors. Students made connections with authors and illustrators including Oliver Jeffers, Dav Pilkey and Mo Willems, learned about puppetry and created projects for Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month.
East Lake Elementary School students have been submitting short videos to librarian Renee Susman about the books they are reading at home. Jacqueline Lee, librarian at Birch Lane Elementary School, also has been getting photos and videos of students doing different literary-based projects at home. Fourth graders studied author Chris Van Allsburg and as a culminating activity they built game boards celebrating one of his well-known books, “Jumanji.”
“There are so many reasons why I love being a librarian, but the children are the best,” Ms. Lee said. “I love getting the videos from my students completing an activity, and at the end they say they miss me.”
Tina Farrell, curriculum associate for English language arts and library media, noted that even through the buildings are closed, Massapequa’s school libraries remain a place of comfort for students. In addition to providing access to e-books and supporting digital literacy, the library media specialists also chat with students over Google Meet to support research projects.
“During this time of distance learning, librarians are connecting with students and their families in meaningful ways to promote literacy,” she said. “We thank our library media specialists for their remarkable effort and dedication to meet the literacy needs of our students during this historical pandemic.”