As students walk into AT, the main goal of everyone involved in their education is their success. During their high school journey, students acquire many different skills, sometimes not even realizing it.
A crucial part of their success are the skills and support they receive at AT’s Library Media Center. The library has five staff members, Rose Janusz, Josie Loizzo, Maryellen Marisie, Josie Zabran, and Lee Obrzut, who all continuously work to provide students with help during any projects and encourage students’ love for reading and knowledge.
The LMC’s staff is led by Rose Janusz who is the Library Media Center Director for both AT and Willowbrook. Janusz shared some of the different aspects in which the library helps teachers educate students on.
“Teachers from many different departments bring their classes to the library to conduct research, or to select books for reading projects. The library staff give book talks to classes, highlighting books that fit the criteria for each project.
“Most of the lessons I teach involve creating and introducing a LibGuide (research guide), which includes all of the resources and electronic tools students need to complete a research project. I provide instruction on the research process, resource evaluation, how to use our various research databases, and how to create citations.”
Lessons taught here at the library are not the only ways students learn. The library often collaborates with different teachers to create fun, engaging activities that make students more enthusiastic about the topics.
“I greatly enjoy collaborating with classroom teachers to design various lessons and activities. Some of my favorites have included Skype (before Zoom – LOL!) author visits with Reading classes, Break-out.edu lockbox activities for Algebra, Social Studies, ELA, and Science courses, and research projects based on student interest,” shared Janusz.
The first thing that welcomes students as they walk into the LMC is a display of books, usually designed with a specific theme in mind. For the month of February, the staff created a display showcasing books by black authors and important to the history of people of color to celebrate Black History Month.
“We talk about upcoming events in weekly meetings and we collaborate with each other to offer what we feel would be the best programming for the students,” said LMC Aide Josie Loizzo.
“Ideas come from everyone and everywhere. There are some library websites we use frequently for ideas. Students are definitely encouraged to give their input. In fact we welcome it,” added LMC Aide Maryellen Marisie.
The staff encourages students to get involved in initiatives and programs, which aim to broaden their knowledge, as well as perspective. The events are advertised through many different ways.
“We send out email blasts, we hang flyers on the boards around the school, we utilize daily announcements, we are on Instagram and Twitter, and we count on word of mouth,” said Marisie.
The main focus of the staff is for students to enjoy learning and develop a passion for knowledge, which is why the LMC does not charge a late fee when books are returned after the due date. “We feel that not charging any late fees lifts that worry and more students read. We are happy to have students reading and we are even happier when the books are returned for the next reader!” shared Loizzo.
In the age of smartphones and social media, the library works hard to invite students to take a break from their electronic devices in the name of picking up a book. The staff constantly comes up with new ways to interest students in reading.
“We have two Reading Programs here. We offer many incentives, for example we award prizes, pizza parties, certificates awarded by the state for books read.
“The reading programs are something we continue yearly and are always planning to come up with new ideas within the parameters set by the program,” explained Marisie.
Most importantly, the staff shares their love for books and reading with students. Staff members can help students who are struggling with finding a book that interests them.
“If you stop by the Reference or Circulation desk, a library staff member is happy to chat about a book you’re considering, or reading, or have just read. We encourage students to share book recommendations, and these recommendations help drive our book purchasing decisions. This system is working, because our circulation statistics show that AT students read a lot of books,” explained Janusz.
Students who are looking for help with their research projects or who are interested in reading are encouraged to stop by the library. Using resources such as the LMC can put them a step ahead and help their future success.
Undoubtedly, if it wasn’t for AT’s library and its staff, students would have a much harder time succeeding in their studies.