Welcome to the
St. Francis Xavier School Library
“Harry — I think I've just understood something! I've got to go to the library!”
And she sprinted away, up the stairs.
“What does she understand?” said Harry distractedly, still looking around, trying to tell where the voice had come from.
“Loads more than I do,” said Ron, shaking his head.
“But why’s she got to go to the library?”
“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”
The Mission of the St. Francis Xavier Library is:
To provide library resources for students and faculty that support the curriculum, including the integration of the Catholic faith into their lives.
To provide opportunities for students to develop a lifelong interest in reading and knowledge.
To teach students skills that enable them to become information literate across multiple media platforms--print, audio/visual, digital.
How do our students use the library?
Early Education Center
Pre-K and Kindergarten visit the library weekly to listen to books read aloud and sometimes view an e-book or a film based on a book. Pre-K students are encouraged to visit the library with their parent or guardian after dismissal to check out books. Kindergarten students independently check out a book every week, learning how to take care of and return it in a timely manner so that they can choose another title to check out the next week.
Grades 1-5 visit the library weekly. Independent book selection, with guidance from our librarian, is a part of every class. Vermont’s Red Clover Book Award nominees and extension activities are the basis of many library classes for Grades 1, 2, and 3, leading up to these students voting for their favorite Red Clover nominee in April.
Grade 4 weekly library classes focus on learning about the Vermont Golden Book Award, (formerly known as the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award) how to use the online catalog to find library materials, how to use non-fiction library resources for class research projects (and cite them properly), and explore various genres.
Grade 5’s bi-weekly library classes delve deeper into Vermont Golden Book Award reading; they also learn to locate non-fiction with the Dewey Decimal System, learn about selected authors and genres connected with their classroom work; and study the John Newbery Award.
Third, fourth and fifth graders also learn how to navigate subscription encyclopedias and databases online for research, such as World Book Kids/Student.
Grades 6-8 use the library very independently--during Language Arts class, at Quiet Time, after school, or for specific research materials during any of their classes. Middle school students make good use of the SFX Cyber-library, using many subscription encyclopedias and databases such as World Book Online, New Book of Knowledge, Country Reports and Vermont Online Library.
Middle school students can access their library account online and keep track of what’s new in the collection, what they have checked out and want to renew, and what they want to read in the future. They can also add short book reviews to the catalog entries for titles.
Middle school students are required to read at least 4 of the Vermont golden Dome Book Award nominees, and many read 5 or more in order to vote. A separate Young Adult (YA) section for both fiction and non-fiction is available for middle school students who are ready for more challenging titles.
What's happening in the library?
Recently the Saint Francis Xavier Home and School Association made a very generous donation to the library for the purchase of a dozen new audiobooks in the Playaway format. Instead of juggling multiple CDs, a student can just plug earbuds into the pre-loaded digital Playaway and...start listening, anywhere!
Here former 7th grader Seth, an avid audiobook listener, demonstrates how easy it is to curl up with a good book...and listen. Seth even listens to Playaways while he's mowing the lawn!
SFX's energetic former librarian, Kathleen Finn, had two Dorothy's List Lunch Bunch reading groups this year -- one for Middle School and one for fifth grade. The groups met every 4-6 weeks to discuss a nominee from this year’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award list (now known as the Vermont Golden Dome Award). Titles picked included Some Kind of Courage and Mayday for 5th, and Falling Over Sideways and Nothing but Trouble for Middle School. Happy reading Lunch Bunchers!
SFX students join students all over Vermont to vote annually for their favorite Red Clover Book Award and Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award (now known as the Vermont Golden Dome Award) nominees. All year long, 1st through 3rd graders read the ten Red Clover nominees during their library classes and then vote for their favorite in the spring. Meanwhile, students in 4th through 8th grades independently read five or more of the 30 nominated Dorothy’s List books over the school year in order to vote in the spring. We encourage our friends of all ages to sample some of these wonderful books.
As C. S. Lewis said, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
Local Authors Visit St. Francis Xavier School
A new crop of young writers and readers at St. Francis Xavier School were treated to a return visit from nationally recognized children’s book author/illustrator Jason Chin, whose title Grand Canyon was recently named a Caldecott Honor Book. Chin, who lives in Vermont, has written and illustrated a half dozen non-fiction picture books on diverse topics, such as redwoods, coral reefs, and the Grand Canyon. The visit was organized by former Librarian Kathleen Finn, in collaboration with the Grade K-4 teachers, and sponsored by a longtime SFX School supporter with a special love for the library and literacy programs at the school.
Students in grades K-4 read and studied one of Mr. Chin’s books in-depth and created a special class project. Mr. Chin’s other books were introduced and discussed in library classes. On the day of his visit, Mr. Chin presented to the students how he researches his wide-ranging topics and how the creation of one of his books evolves. Chin’s research often involves a “site visit” to specific geographical locations around the globe to sketch and learn more first-hand about his topic. Back home in his Vermont studio, he then sets to work writing and illustrating with many, many revisions to his book dummies before beginning the final art. His books usually take at least a year to produce. Chin ended his presentations with some on-the-spot, interactive drawings with his young audience.
"I want my books to both educate and entertain, and I have found that stories are the perfect medium for achieving these two purposes. . . . No matter the story, I always want it to capture the reader's imagination and to make them wonder. . . . When kids read my books, I really hope that the book takes them on a journey and that when they come back, they'll have picked up some science along the way." - Mr. Jason Chin.
Vermont is blessed to claim many, many resident authors and illustrators. In fact, to highlight this special feature of the Green Mountain State, former 5th grade teacher Mrs. Brandes and former librarian, Mrs. Finn collaborated annually on a "Vermont author" book project. Mrs. Brandes' 5th graders read a Vermont author's book, familiarize themselves with the author's website, and then write a letter to the author. We have been delighted to have several Vermont authors visit our school.
One visiting Vermont author was Johanna Hurwitz, who has written more than 70 warm, funny and nationally acclaimed books about elementary school age students. Mrs. Hurwitz spoke informally to the students in Grades 2-5 about how her ideas for plot and characters develop and often take on a life of their own. She takes a long walk every morning, thinking about ways her stories might develop and always carries a notebook to jot down interesting names and incidents that might take root in a new book. The importance of the back-and-forth process between editor and writer—and many, many rewrites-- was emphasized.
Another visiting Vermont author was Sean Plasse, a/k/a Watermelon Tourmaline, who provided our 5th graders with a hugely entertaining presentation on writing, publishing, dyslexia, life, and fishing! Mr. Plasse and his brother Matt, a/k/a Hignus Harkaway, wrote The Brothers Plad and the Mystery Trout. Here's how they describe their effort: "A Vermont carpenter and banker united in a quest to get boys reading and fishing. They have succeeded in their quest, creating the best boys book available."
Focusing his visit on middle school students was Vermont author Doug Wilhelm, author of The Revealers, True Shoes, and many other acclaimed young adult novels. Former middle school teacher. Mrs. Richards taught The Revealers annually to the 6th grade in her Language Arts class; this engaging title focuses on the realities of bullying in middle school, especially how it can be escalated by the proliferation of digital media. With the 1:1 digital device program in middle school, Mr. Wilhelm’s visit helped underscore good digital citizenship as well.