Library is the heart of the Lower School

Reading is the natural activity of choice in the library’s reading well.

The Lower School library is a vibrant place where USJ’s youngest students learn to navigate books and enjoy reading. It’s not a quiet place, but rather, it’s a warm, inviting, and colorful place where students can talk and laugh, said Lower School Librarian Stacey Glover.

“We have students who love reading, and my main goal in the library is to make it a welcoming place where the kids want to come,” Glover said. “It has to be a fun place.”

The library features a stadium-seating-style reading well and a catalog of more than 30,000 titles, including many new books from popular genres.

“With emerging readers, it’s so vital to provide materials of interest, and our library does a great job of doing that,” said Lower School Director Debbie Ford.

Students spend 30 minutes each week in the library, learning to locate books and reading age-appropriate literature designed to pique their interests and engage them early. “Even our youngest students learn the difference between fiction and nonfiction and how to locate them in the library,” Glover said. “It teaches them independence.”

Marshal Brewington, above, relaxes in the library’s colorful rocker while Autumn Hanna, below, looks for a book to check out.
Open library every day gives students another 90 minutes to use the library. The library supports the school’s accelerated reader program and summer reading program, Ford said. And, Glover’s curriculum teaches the young students how to navigate the Dewey Decimal System while supporting the curriculum in the classroom. “She is a teacher first, and that is really vital,” Ford said.

The library also hosts special events, such as story time, guest speakers, and visits from authors. The space is accessible to parents, teachers, and faculty, and it’s open during the summer every Wednesday in June and July. “The library stays open and available to USJ families for 12 months a year,” Glover said.

Looking to the future, Glover said the school is considering Kindles for the students, which would allow them to check out e-books and prevent the library from running out of certain titles. It also would help keep the students interested and engaged.

The library receives $3,000 each year from the Mothers’ Club. The Lower School raises the rest of the money the library needs through book fairs, the Box Tops for Education Program, and donations.

Glover, who has been with USJ since 2003, credits the 15-20 volunteers who help run the library — stocking shelves, cataloging books, and helping children — on a weekly basis. The library and its collection are available to many people, thanks to the dedication of others, Glover said.

Thanks to Glover’s work, and because students love it so much, the library is the heart of the Lower School campus, Ford said. “It’s a wonderful place.”