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library frequently asked questions 

Library Philosophy

It is the goal and philosophy of the Herricks School District to prepare students to be lifelong learners.  The Herricks community believes that school library media centers play an integral role in enabling students to compete and succeed in our information rich society.  Acknowledging that students need to develop critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, the district encourages and nurtures the collaboration between teachers and school librarians to foster the growth and development of these skills.  Information literacy skills prepare students to access, evaluate and select information, which they will use for a variety of purposes.  The school library media specialist is a valuable resource for students, parents, teachers, administrators, Board of Education members and the community.

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Who's in charge of the library?

The library media center has a full-time library media specialist and a part-time library aide.  The library media specialist, Karen Kliegman, holds a master's degree in library science as well as one in educational technology and is an editor at MidLink MagazineRuth Masterson, our library aide, has been a member of the Searingtown staff for several years.

How do I find what I need?

Books can be found using the computerized library catalog (Follett Circulation Plus) by entering author, title, subject, or key words.  Of course, we are available for assistance and guidance.

when is the library open?

The library is open Monday-Friday during school hours, including all lunch periods.

how often does my class come to library?

"Schools must adopt the educational philosophy that the library media program is fully integrated into the educational program. This integration strengthens the teaching/learning process so that students can develop the vital skills necessary to locate, analyze, evaluate, interpret, and communicate information and ideas...The integrated library media program philosophy requires that an open schedule must be maintained...Students and teachers must be able to come to the center throughout the day to use information sources, to read for pleasure, and to meet and work with other students and teachers."..from the ALA/AASL Position Statement on Flexible Scheduling

In order to maintain a library with Flexible Scheduling and Collaborative & Integrated Instruction, the library schedule is part flexible and part fixed, meaning that students visit the library on both a scheduled and independent basis for instruction. Kindergarten through 2nd grade have a regular a weekly slot. Third grade has a regular weekly 40 minute period.  Lesson slots are flexible in grades four and five. All classes are encouraged to use the online library schedule to sign up for additional library time.

It is our policy that individuals and small groups of students may come to the library anytime during the day with teacher permission. Additionally, fourth and fifth grade students attend research classes co-taught by Mrs. Kliegman and Ms. Smythe.

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What are the rules for borrowing materials from the library?

Number of books students may check out at any one time:

Kindergarten 1
First Grade 1 (this may include 1 magazine)
Second Grade 2 (this may include 1 magazine)
Third Grade 3 (this may include 1 magazine)
Fourth Grade 4 (this may include 2 magazines)
Fifth Grade 4 (this may include 2 magazines)

Please note:  These numbers reflect the number of books a student may have out at any one time.  However, he/she may come to the library, with teacher permission, for a new book, provided he/she returns the previous one/s and has NO OVERDUE or LOST BOOKS.

Students in grades four and five who are doing research projects may have the limit extended for a project or assignments at the discretion of the librarian. Students MAY NOT check out videos.  These are for school use only.

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When do I have to return my library books?

All students may sign-out library materials for two weeks. Books may be renewed up to two additional times. The book must be present to be renewed.

what happens if I lose or damage my library book or magazine?

Damaged and Lost Book Policy:

When a student checks out a book it is his/her responsibility to return the book in good condition. Part of the library curriculum for primary grades is the proper care of books.  Although we devote a lot of time to this subject, accidents can happen. 

If  a book page accidentally rips, please do not attempt to repair it at home. We will repair the book in the library.  Please return the book with a note so that we are aware of it.

However, if a book becomes damaged beyond use, you will be billed for the replacement cost.  If a book is lost, we will ask the student's teacher to help the student search for the book in the classroom.  Sometimes students mix their library book with classroom books, sometimes they lend it to a friend, sometimes books are found in the back of a cubby, and sometimes they forget to properly return books by putting them in the library book drop.  Occasionally, children simply put the book back on a library shelf. Of course, if the book is not properly checked in, the computer will mark it as 'out'.  Sometimes there are computer glitches and of course, there is human error -- so we always check the library shelves.

If we cannot find it, a note will be sent home asking for payment.  Please note that borrowing privileges are withheld until the book is paid for.  You will be charged the replacement cost of the book.  The charge for lost magazines is $5.00.  Payment may be made in cash (preferable) or a check made out to the Herricks UFSD.  If you write a check, please be aware that we will hold the check until the end of the school year or until you return the lost book.   Of course,  we will gladly refund your money if you find the book.  Students who return lost books after the school year ends will not be refunded.

Overdue Books:

We do not charge a fine for overdue books.  Overdue notices are sent out on a routine basis and if a student has books overdue more than two weeks we reserve the right to suspend borrowing privileges or limit the number of books out at any time, until the overdue items are returned.  If you notice your child is not bringing home new books, please ask if a book is considered lost or overdue.  Sometimes, you send the book back, but it does not make it to the library. Sometimes, we send home a notice, but it doesn't make it home.

Students who have chronic overdues may have borrowing privileges revoked or limited, or have books they need for assignments signed out to their teacher, so they may complete an assignment.  They will  receive a bill for lost books, if the items are not returned. 

We attempt to instill a sense of responsibility while a book is in the possession of our students.  This means they are responsible for caring for it, using a bookmark, renewing it, and returning it on time, so others may borrow it. 

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how can i tell if a book is at the right reading level for me?

We believe that students should be free to select books on items of interest to them. If a Kindergartner wishes to learn about trucks or dinosaurs, we will attempt to guide him/her to a book on an appropriate level for a parent to read to  him/her. Usually our Kindergarten and First grades are encouraged to make selections from the Easy section, and as the year progresses, from our nonfiction section.

During our library lessons, we spend time discussing books for independent reading, exploring books by various authors and illustrators, and using the five finger test to judge the readability of a book. Children are also taught to look for the large E on the spine of beginning readers.

If your child selects a book which they do not like, or one which you do not like, or feel is appropriate, please return the book the next day so that your child can select another. 

 The Five Finger Test

1.  Open the book to the middle. Select a full page of text.

2.  Read the page ( aloud if possible).

3.  Put one finger up for every word you cannot pronounce or do not know.

 4. If you get five ( 5 ) fingers up on one page,.the book is too difficult to read independently.

5.  If you do not get any fingers up,but are reading very slowly and decoding almost every word, you will not enjoy the book.

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what kind of materials can i find in our library?

Library Collection -- The library collection includes over 12,000 books, 500 videotapes, a growing collection of elementary recorded books and a large collection of other media, including magazines, CD-ROMs,  online databases such as World Book Online, and globes.  The library subscribes to several periodicals at the elementary school level, and several at the professional level.

The library has a fully automated catalog and circulation system, using Follett's Circulation Plus.  All computer workstations in our library log on to the catalog database, and students are encouraged to find and use helpful, appropriate materials by using the electronic catalog.

Collection development in the library is closely tied to curriculum needs. Material selection is often based on consultation between librarians and teachers, and individual items are purchased based on requests from faculty, students or parents; a determination of overall relevance, quality, and cost; and favorable reviews from professional reviewing sources. In addition, the librarian pay special attention to identifying and purchasing materials to support personal inquiry and growth of the Searingtown community. The librarian is responsible for building and maintaining the collection.

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What computer resources do we have in the library?

The library media center has  six Gateway computer workstations and  one MacIntosh workstation.  We also have a large screen destination monitor which allows us to do whole class lessons using the computer.  We encourage students to use the resources of the  Library Web Page for information and the OPAC (online public access catalog) for locating library materials.  All of the workstations in the library have Internet access and several software programs, including:

  • Microsoft Word and Excel

  • Inspiration

  • Kidspiration

  • Appleworks

Additionally, the library is adjacent to the Computer Lab.  Students are encouraged and allowed to use the resources of both rooms whenever possible.

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*Thanks to the Barley Sheaf Library and Mr. Greg Slomczewski, Librarian for some of the policy information on this page.