My students reflect the cultural richness of New York City--and speak 34 different languages among them! Library interns Sarah, Shakir, Elan, Nicholas, Tracy, Mahir, Julianna and Alexandra work with me at the library desk, helping to select books and recommend or weigh in on visiting authors and artists. My students want to build the library and school community, enlighten and educate their peers...and change the world!
My library interns are dedicated to their school community and love helping plan events. They recommend and vote on the visitors we bring to campus, and help in numerous ways, from hanging up flyers to moving chairs to greeting guests to moderating panel discussions. The students help make these events run smoothly, creating memorable and eye-opening experiences.
In our Speaker Series, we welcome distinguished authors and artists to speak to our students in our library, auditorium or black box theater. At some events, we have up to 300 seats filled! Students arrive with a hunger to meet working scholars and artists who are stars in their fields and have also made a difference in the world. Students learn about the craft and skills needed to become an artist, while gaining knowledge in social justice. This year, we are inviting author Kim Coleman Foote, who writes about slavery and the Great Migration. Ms. Foote is a professional artist who paints pictures with words. She bring history to life through her art. This project blends humanities and the arts. Students will learn about history as well as the life and process of a working novelist. Ms. Foote will discuss her historical archival research as well as revision and the craft of writing.
In Their Own Words
We students are trying to offer opportunities outside of the classroom (like our lunch periods and free periods) when our fellow students can pursue their curiosity and learn about subjects that interest them. Sometimes, meeting a famous writer, artist or just a person with an amazing life story can be like a lightening rod experience. Meeting people can jolt us into discovery. Maybe we find a new academic passion or career. Maybe we just walk away with a new view of life. We don't want students to be cynical but to embrace learning whenever they can.
As library interns and volunteers, we help our librarian coordinate speaker events. We choose visitors we know will inspire students. In choosing books for the library, we learn how to take initiative, analyze literary material, and feel confident in our decisions that will reach a broad spectrum of students. We learn leadership skills because we are in charge of a project that will impact hundreds of people in the school! We have to be detail-oriented and meticulous. It is a skill to plan an event, and we enjoy learning this process from our school librarian.
Creating a more diverse collection of books and getting firsthand experience with an author makes for a more inclusive and comfortable environment where students know they are welcome and can learn more about themselves. Our school is home to students from all over the world, speaking 34 languages! We want them to find reading material that is informative and relatable, and to feel at home having discussions about books in the library. We also want students to attend cultural events in the library, be good audience members, welcome our guests, and broaden our worlds! Having visitors to campus helps us learn so much about the real world, and helps us feel more connected. Learning about author Ms. Foote's process of writing her saga about the slave trade (she has been writing it for almost 20 years now!), we will come away with our lives enriched.
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