Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, the Fieldston Lower Library has never closed! In March 2020, we went fully online — reimagining our library catalog to provide access to all of our digital resources and developing a digital collection. When the physical space of the library was being used as a classroom during the 2020–2021 academic year, the Fieldston Lower Library became a combination of an online catalog, library carts brought to classrooms, and streaming classes. Close to 2,500 digital books were made available to students, families, and teachers. At the beginning of the 2020–2021 academic year, circulation of physical books resumed. Thanks to Fieldston Lower Library Assistant Mette Baccari, students have been able to receive and return their books every day of the week. Her appearance in classrooms to bring students their books has earned her the title of “Book Fairy” for Fieldston Lower.
This academic year, it has been wonderful to have students returning to the library! The excitement on their faces the first time they were able to come in was unforgettable. With hand sanitizing, physical distancing, and book quarantine protocols in place, students can once again enjoy browsing and reading surrounded by books. Upper grade classes take place in the library, while lower grades are in classrooms, with small groups of students coming to the junior library for book selection. The online catalog provides access to digital resources and allows students to place holds on physical books.
The logistics challenges have been formidable, but despite all the complexity and changes, last year we circulated over 15,000 physical books, about half of our usual total, and students read 7,295 digital books. So far this year, we have already circulated almost 10,000 physical books.
The students’ love of stories and reading, along with their insatiable curiosity, transcends any challenges of location, schedule, and technology. The reading culture at Fieldston Lower is as strong as ever. And what could be better than curling up in a comfy chair with a good book?