Library Creates Virtual Space for Books, Support, and Conversation


Ms. Saladino and Ms. Hoyle

Librarians Ms. Hoyle and Ms. Saladino have created a virtual space to help connect students with resources.

“Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals during a plague,” said Eleanor Crumblehulme, a Canadian Librarian defending her life’s work when it was in danger of losing funding.  Current times put a different twist on this statement, though, as it is the Coronavirus shutting down the libraries, rather than funding.

When the state went into quarantine, all libraries shut their doors, and are only now starting to check out books via drive-by pickups. The buildings are still off-limits. For school libraries, they can’t even do that much.

The biggest effect for many people is the inability to get books they want to read. Also, most libraries have computers so people can access the internet if they don’t have computers at home. But even discounting the physical resources, libraries are a great place to socialize.

“We miss having students in the library so much!” said Longfellow librarian Ms. Hoyle.  “We used to be packed with visitors at many parts of the day, not just while teaching classes, and we loved that interaction with our students daily.”

Since the librarians miss the presence of students, they are turning to newer resources like ebooks to entertain the kids, or rather, help them to entertain themselves. Since mid-March, students have checked out 277 ebooks and audiobooks, and 106 more have been put on hold.

Even though the school libraries are closed, librarians are still here to help students and teachers with information and resources. Ms. Hoyle noted many resources librarians provide, such as databases, Noodletools, and tutorials on technology. They’ve even made visits to virtual classes.

Connecting students and teachers using online resources has been a huge success, and they hope to keep it going over the summer. One resource they are trying to build and promote is a virtual Makerspace. A Makerspace is a place where students can go and find hands-on activities, though, with the virtual version, hands-on might be considered a high bar. They hope to have it available on the LMS library webpage and the blackboard Distance Learning site during summertime until school starts in the fall.

Libraries serve many purposes for students, but they have been closed because of Covid-19. Many librarians miss having students but have turned to online resources to still keep in touch with kids. As Lisa says her favorite part about being a librarian is bonding with students over books.

“I love helping students find books that they really enjoy reading.  I also love it when students find research topics that they’re really passionate about, and I get to help them find more information about something they genuinely want to learn more about.  I learn so much along with the students about so many different topics.”

The online resources help her do that during these tough times. She has enjoyed having students come to visit her during library office hours and during some of their events, like Poem in Your Pocket Day and virtual book club. When the students come back in the fall,  hopefully, they will realize what a great resource librarians are in the school and spend more time in the library.

”We’re looking forward to all of us getting back into school and interacting with each other,” Ms. Hoyle said.