St. Mary's students in grades Kindergarten through 8 come to the library weekly to listen to stories, learn information skills, conduct research, and check out books. We have an excellent collection of fiction and nonfiction books, plus reference materials, magazines, and access to computers. Large classes are divided into smaller groups when they come to the library so that they can receive more personal attention as they learn skills and search for books. Our goals in the library are threefold:
- To help children experience the library as a pleasant, welcoming place where they can enjoy books and learn more about their world.
- To give students the skills necessary to successfully use any school or public library.
- To provide curriculum support to teachers as they work to improve student literacy and student achievement in the content areas.
Primary grade students are exposed to the best in children's literature through story-time and discussion, along with the opportunity to check out books to take home. Parents are encouraged to share the books with their children, to model good reading skills and to simply enjoy a story together. Occasionally, story-time will focus on a particular "Favorite Author" and children will enjoy an in-depth study of that author's distinctive writing and illustrating style.
Intermediate and middle school students learn about common library terms and skills such as the Dewey Decimal classification system, call numbers, and use of the computer card catalog. They also learn about reference materials, magazines, and newspapers. Book awards such as the Caldecott, Newbery, and Golden Sowers are explored. Students check out books for both personal reading and class assignments.
Our reference collection includes World Book print encyclopedias (2011 edition), atlases, almanacs (2011 edition), dictionaries, and thesauri. We also subscribe to the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, an online database of encyclopedia articles, current events and news stories, magazines, international newspapers, and web links. Grolier is accessible to students and their families from both school and home.
Books are checked out for two weeks at a time, with the opportunity to renew. Fines are not charged for overdue books. A replacement fee is charged for lost or damaged books.
The library sponsors an annual Scholastic book fair in the fall. Profits are used to enhance the classroom and school libraries.
We celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday the first week in March with decorations, refreshments, games, and guest readers.
Families are invited to recognize a student's birthday by joining our Birthday Book Club. For a small fee, a new library book is chosen for a child and labelled as his or her birthday book. The student is the first to check out his or her birthday book from the library.
At various times of the year, our older and younger students "buddy up" to share reading and other activities in the library.
We have a wonderful relationship with our local Bellevue Public Library. The public librarians visit our school to conduct special book readings, our 8th graders go on a field trip to learn about the public library's young adult services, and the children and young adult librarians come each spring to introduce their city-wide summer reading program. Many of our students participate in the program and several volunteer at the library.