The St. Joseph School Library, a collection of over 15,000 book titles and 400 videos, is administered by a full time librarian and a full time staff person, in accordance with Information Power guidelines for school library media programs from the American Library Association. Grades K-6, a total of 21 classes, meet weekly with the librarian for at least 30 minutes each, with grades 5 and 6 coming for 45 minutes each, and check out over 600 books each week. Classes from grades 7 and 8 use the library at various times during the school year to work on specific class projects, with grade 7 spending a majority of the last trimester working on an intensive country report for 11 weeks. Other classes often schedule extra time in the library to work on projects, and students are welcome to use the library and computers if they are not disrupting story time with the younger students. A Study Hall is scheduled during the 7th and 8th grade lunch period each day, which also serves as a Homework Lab, both monitored by the librarian. The library is open each day from the time the doors open at 8:15 AM and stays open after school until at least 3:30 PM. Everyone is welcome to use the library and check out materials, including parents and non school age siblings, as well as the Montessori Preschool located in the building. Two books fairs are sponsored during the year: one during Catholic Schools Week, when people from the parish are encouraged to visit, and an Usbourne Book Fair held during the week of Evening of Entertainment, when parents can come.
The library is fully computerized with 12 IMACs and 6 PCs (3 for librarian and library staff use) with the IMACs networked within the school including the Computer Lab, allowing students to access any class work saved on the server. The library web page, created and maintained by the librarian, serves as a virtual library, with access to the online book catalog, magazine and encyclopedia online subscriptions, resource links for all curricular areas, access to the Seattle and area libraries, teacher resources, book lists, monthly online activities and ideas, and library information. Everything but the book catalog is accessible from home as well. The Reading Counts program, which the teachers use as part of the reading curriculum, is also available on the library computers, and although the software is maintained in the computer lab, all books that are part of the Reading Counts program are clearly labeled on the library shelves and a book list is available. With this emphasis on computers, the librarian is also part of the Technology Committee.
The mission of the Library is to:
provide an environment that ensures that students and faculty become effective
users of ideas and information, develop the whole person, reinforce Christian
values, serve as an integral part of the philosophy and curriculum of St. Joseph
School, and empower students with skills and experiences that will enable them
to use libraries for life-long learning.
(see "About our Library" http://www.stjosephsea.org/library/mission.htm)
One of the main goals of the school library is to support the curriculum. The library collection is continuously being assessed, weeded, and developed to meet the curriculum needs both in subject areas and at various grade levels. Biographies, for example, are requested at almost each grade level from grade 1 through grade 8. Each grade level also has specific subject research reports that are required where reference materials are needed as well as grade appropriate books: solar system, endangered animals, etc.
The instructional goal and portion of the program is geared towards this research component with the main intent of having the students become information literate and independent users of the library. (see http://www.stjosephsea.org/library/curriculum.htm)
Another goal is to promote the love of reading and literature. Class time in the library is a mix of book recommendations and book talks along with library skills and information literacy. To reach the different reading levels, each year the librarian promotes book recommendations from various local and national book awards: Caldecott, Newbery and Coretta Scott King awards, Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award, Beverly Cleary List, Sasquatch Reading Award, and the Young Readers’ Choice Readers Award. The local awards include favorite books nominated by our students with voting done in the spring. These lists are always posted on the library homepage and the books are displayed on the shelves. Along with all these award books, each month different books are displayed in the library: authors that have birthdays that month, often being the more "classic" authors, the multicultural theme for the month (African American Heritage Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, etc.) New books are always prominently displayed as well. Periodic notices are sent out in the weekly Flash about new books, new book award announcements, and author events in the area. Almost every other month a New Book List is distributed to all the teachers and then posted on the web page. Near the end of each school year booklets on Suggested Summer Reading are published by grade level both for our current students and also for incoming students.
Communication is imperative and the librarian has frequent interaction with the teachers and their specific reading and curriculum needs.