Delaware News

Libraries, book fairs vital in district's literacy push

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Despite the emergence of the Internet as a prime research tool, libraries still serve as important resources for students.

The Delaware City School District aims to make literacy its pillar and base from which all other academic activities stem, said Superintendent Paul Craft.

Craft said literacy is the basis for everything district leaders do and is a consistent focus of the district's efforts.

"We want literacy at all grade levels," he said. "We want kids of all ages to have their noses in books."

Craft said the district relies heavily on its libraries and media specialists not only to provide students with books that match their interests and reading levels, but to provide tools to analyze the information they find.

"Students can access lots of information through books or the Internet, but our media specialists teach them how to judge the quality of the information they find -- specifically the information they find electronically," Craft said.

Rose Long, library media center specialist at Schultz Elementary School, said her focus is to cultivate a love of books in her students who use the library weekly.

"We want them to enjoy reading," she said. "We want them to love it. Our biggest challenge is having enough available for them on a variety of topics that interest them."

One of the biggest changes that Long sees in students who continue to use the library every year is how they select books.

"In kindergarten, they select what is most familiar to them," she said. "By the time they are in fifth grade, they are getting wiser in their choices and selecting fiction and nonfiction books that they love."

Long said she believes students discover more about topics they are interested in as they get further along in their education, then select books accordingly.

One of the reasons the Schultz library conducts a book fair every year is to help expand the library's collection and provide more reading material for students.

The Scholastic book fair will be held Tuesday, Oct. 9, through Oct. 18 during normal school hours, and will feature special family nights from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, and Oct. 16.

Scholastic donates a percentage of its income from sales to the library for book purchases. Last year, it received $5,000 in free books from the book fair.

The book fair also will feature a drawing to win a gift basket full of books plus a $25 gift certificate for the student's teacher to buy books for the classroom.

Long said the family nights are a way to encourage parents to get involved in their child's love of books.

"Kids love the book fair," she said. "The books for sale are attuned to what the students want to read. It's one of the most positive aspects of what the library does."

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