Though 2020 has required the Raether Library team to be nimble and adaptable, and library logistics haven’t looked exactly like they did in the past, the library gears continue to turn, and we’ve been able to offer students a multitude of exciting opportunities in the past several months.
Since the library has had to shift to become primarily a classroom space to meet COVID-19 social-distancing requirements, the librarians have pivoted to taking the library to students! Pop-up libraries have appeared everywhere, from the Campus Center, to Middle and Upper School classrooms, to Wright Field, to the Robert Frost statue at the entrance to Raether. Students are able to physically browse and check out, just like they would have in the library space (with sanitized hands, of course!), and there’s something novel and fun about enjoying a library experience in the great outdoors or at the beginning of an English class. We’ve also continued to add dozens of new books to our collection each month and make them available to students, and many students have taken advantage of our new “book concierge” services, wherein book holds are placed by students online and librarians deliver them to students’ advisory classrooms within 24 hours.
Middle and Upper School students had record turnout for our annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) program, hosted by our amazing Raether Library Assistant Becci Marzonie. A total of 17 Middle School students from the two cohorts met on the library patio on one of their on-campus learning days during study hall each week, while our nine Upper School participants met in the outdoor tents after school, and all enjoyed snacks and warm drinks and worked on meeting their word count goals throughout the month. Several students are already more than 50% of the way to their final word count goals.
Other established library programs, like the Upper School Book Club and the Middle School Bingo Challenge, have been as active as ever. Upper School Book Club members read and discussed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in November and are starting a new title over the Thanksgiving Break. And 13 Sixth Graders, 13 Seventh Graders, and seven Eighth Graders have active bingo cards and are working toward meeting their personal reading goals by the end of the year.
We are certainly living in interesting, often challenging, times, and it has been heartening to see how the library remains a cornerstone of the CA community, despite looking a little different this year. In this season of gratitude, the CA Library Team is grateful for the continued support of our vibrant community of readers and for the ways in which books and words continue to uplift all of us and keep us connected.