Jewell Elementary staff, students and parents celebrated the opening of their new community library on May 9. The project was funded with mill levy dollars approved by Aurora voters in November 2012, along with a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s to create a dedicated parent section.
Jewell staff and students spent several months transforming the media center into a welcoming and colorful community library with new books, furniture and shelves. The library features an array of special sections customized for different ages, reading interests and subject matter, including:
- A science and math section geared to Jewell’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program
- Listening, publishing and young readers tables
- A preschool corner with books, puppets and learning activities
- A parent corner featuring books in English and Spanish tailored to adult interests
- Reading corners with comfortable beanbag chairs
The community library concept complements Jewell Elementary’s focus on reading improvement. Books are organized in student-friendly categories such as character books, series books, and popular authors. The library is also stocked with fun learning activities, board games, puzzles and stuffed animals. Students take an active role in selecting their own books and library activities. They also learn where to shelve their books and use a self-checkout scanner system.
Students can also participate in after-school library clubs and check out books with their parents. Margaret Robertson, Jewell literacy coach, has guided the fifth-grade “Build and Blog” Club as the “voice” of the library renovation. The fifth-graders create ongoing updates about the library and take a lead in teaching younger students how to make the most of its resources. To view the Build and Blog Club website with news, photos and videos, visit http://buildandblogclub.blogspot.com/
“Our goal is to create a buzz of excitement about the new library and encourage our students to engage in a variety of reading and learning activities available here. We’d also like our library to be a community hub for our parents—a place where they can hold parent meetings, access our computers, and check out books with their children.”
- Patty Lewis, Jewell principal
“Our students are very excited about the transformation of the library. They love all of the new features and the way the books are organized into categories such as animals, series and character books. We have noticed that students are reading more because it is easier to find the books they want to read.”
- Deb Thornton, Library Educational Assistant
“I like the new library because they have made it so you can color, read books or listen to stories.”
- Tamia, Jewell second-grade student