April is School Library Month

April is School Library Month and we celebrate our teacher librarians all year long. At SFUSD, all of our school librarians are credentialed teachers who plan diverse learning experiences to inspire equitable, active student participation. Every SFUSD school has a library and credentialed librarian thanks to the Personal Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF), which mandates that part of funds are allocated towards libraries in SFUSD.

Our librarians create spaces for students to connect outside of class: clubs for tinkering, crafting, games like chess, and of course, reading.

Willie Brown Jr. Middle School lunchtime makerspace

At Willie Brown Jr. Middle School, Julia Maynard hosts a makerspace on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at lunch for students to come in and make things. Some of the most popular activities include making jewelry, designing stickers and other items with the Cricut, and hot gluing things to other things. For many tools like the hot glue gun, cardboard saws, and sewing machines the students get certified so they can use them whenever they want. In addition to making, students often come to repair items in the makerspace. In the last month alone, students have sewn three jackets back together, soldered a new battery into an electric toothbrush, and fixed a bracelet that kept coming undone. At one point, there were over 30 students felting at lunch. In addition to the lunchtime makerspace, teachers schedule times to bring their students into the makerspace using the engineering design process. For example, to practice ratios, a seventh grade math class built tiny houses that are built to scale. Julia says, “Our students enjoy getting time for hands-on projects that bring the school curriculum to life.” Additionally, some artist residences have come through and students have made comic books.

Students at Presidio Middle School help test equipment for an upcoming Vintage Tech Mini-Museum at the school library.

At Presidio Middle School, Holly Friel is putting together a Vintage Tech Mini-Museum so that students will have an opportunity to explore the pre-digital technology that parents and members of the community have been donating to the library. Students will be able to use the items and imagine what today's technology will look like 50-100 years from now. Items that will be displayed include a 1960s manual typewriter, a 1980s Ektagraphic machine, a 1940s Stenograph, a 1920s portable gramophone and records, a 1980s boombox, a 1960s reel-to-reel tape recorder, and old telephones. Presidio also hosts a couple of book clubs, including a Black Lit Book Club. Since 2018, Holly has spearheaded the R.O.A.R. (Reach Out And Read) program, where the school community reads silently for 20 minutes after lunch. At R.O.A.R Days in the fall and spring, parent volunteers help give out hundreds of books and swag to students.

At Marshall Elementary School, the library is just 649 square feet, so librarian Judy Viertel utilizes flexible seating and narrow tables. At lunch recess, she brings library services outside for O.L.E.: Outdoor Library Explorations. This includes a book bin, constructive play, imaginative play, and drawing so students can take the library outside. On Tuesday afternoons, there’s a chess club in conjunction with the Mechanics' Institute Chess Program. The club views lessons and plays chess and every year, they attend a tournament and write a chess book. Judy also organizes a Young Authors' Night where books are displayed by every Marshall student. There's also a bookmaking center, opportunities to write responses to books, and readings.

Marshall Elementary students take part in Outdoor Library Explorations

At Jefferson Elementary School, first-year librarian Rene Mitsui is reimagining the space for students to take care of their social-emotional needs through games, puzzles, Legos, and origami. Along with the PTA, she also helps coordinate Authors Day, a 20+ year tradition at Jefferson. Picture book authors visit classrooms at Jefferson and do presentations about their books.

Julie Downing is one of the founders of Authors Day at Jefferson Elementary School. 

SFUSD is fortunate to have a rich partnership with the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), collaborating on events like author talks and initiatives for students like the Scholar Card.

Thank you to our teacher librarians for everything they do!