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McKinley Library

Welcome to MKS Beehive, AKA the MKS Library. Presently, I serve as the library media specialist. Mrs. Dominguez also assists with some duties daily in the library, meeting the needs of the students when I am at Sierra Madre Middle School as the library media specialist there.

The McKinley library officially opened in the late 1920’s by Mabel Sarah Kennedy-Gillett. The library has been in the same location ever since. We are located at the far end of the “South Building” or now known as “C Building” on the first floor.

The library is home of the WPA (Work Progress Administration), one of F. D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs,  Frank Tolles Chamberlin’s 16 x 40 foot mural entitled, “ Modern Education/School Culture.” This oil on canvas painting was completed 1934 and 1942, as part of first federally funded art programs in American History, the Public Works of Arts Program or PWAP. This allowed struggling artists to be employed and showcase their work during the Great Depression. The WPA was a work relief program that employed some 8.5 million people at the time. The mural depicts the then-contemporary students at work as well as Native American and pioneer settlers of the time working in the San Gabriel Valley, using the valley as a backdrop. Forty-nine students of different backgrounds attending McKinley were used as models within the work. These students are shown participating in many educational settings of the time, including chemistry, sculpture, horseback riding and blacksmithing. Frank Chamberlin was born in 1873 in San Francisco. He died in 1961 in Pasadena. This mural is presently undergoing a major restoration, with thanks to the McKinley Mural Restoration Committee, members of Pasadena’s cultural and art appreciation community. The work is being done by Zebala and Partners, an art conservators’ company from the west valley area. The project is expected to be completed in approximately six months. The work will be ongoing during class visits to the “Beehive.” The conservators will be providing students with Q and A sessions during their visits occasionally. The project is expected to be “semi-interactive” meaning the students will be able to observe the work being done. Visitors from our community are welcome to come and see the transformation, as well.

My first task in my new assignment as library media specialist was to reorganize the collection from the “AR Leveled Reading” to a more comprehensive library organization. The titles are now organized by author’s last name. At the present time, the collection is sorted into the following categories; picture books, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, and references. I am developing selections of graphic novels, multicultural, and high interest titles. McKinley presently has over 20,000 copies of over 15,000 titles in our collection. All students ETK-8th grade are allowed to borrow from the collection of fiction, non-fiction, reference, picture books for a 2 week period, if their permission slips are turned in and on record with the Destiny Asset system. This is how we are able to keep track of all the titles and books in the collection. These permission slips are sent home at the beginning of each year. The permission slip outlines the procedures, responsibilities and care of the books when borrowed. Students enrolling late are given the permission slip as part of the registration packet. Grades ETK-2 are allowed 1 book per lending period. Grades 3-8 may check out 2 books at a time. Books may be renewed one time during their loaning period. All ETK-1 classes visit the “Beehive” as a class. Most 2-8th grade classes visit during their English or Reading/Writing Workshop classes. The classes visit on a 2 week rotation, giving equity and access to all students. Mrs. Miller also visits classes for lessons and instruction on library sciences, occasionally. Volunteers are welcome to give time and a hand in the library. Students are held accountable for any damage or loss of the books borrowed. Fines and/replacement fees are assessed, and can be negotiated for replacement cases. Middle school students, grades 6-8 are assess late or overdue fees at $.10 a day, maxing out at $3.00. Elementary students are not held for overdue fees.

All McKinley Middle School students are issued textbooks through the same Destiny Asset program, for each core subject. The students are responsible for the texts issued, the condition when returned, and/or any inappropriate and unnecessary markings. If a textbook is lost, it usually is returned to the “Beehive”, the barcode is researched and student assigned as well as their teacher is notified the text is in the library. When possible, the parent or guardian is also notified through email of the found text. These texts are issued on Opening Day and are the student responsibility through the last full week of the school year. Fines and replacement fees are assessed when a book is severely damaged or lost. Sharing or loaning of textbooks to friends is frowned upon. Students enrolled in the Vanguard/Summit Learning program are not issued texts at this time.

My focus of developing the collection in the “Beehive” is to allow the students to have a voice in the selection of titles added. With this in mind, I have implemented a recommendation form. So many students come and ask for specific titles, authors, series or genres in their search for their reading materials. I have found it easier to remember, if they take the time to give me a feedback form, which allows me to review the titles and subject area for future purchases to the collection. Parents and community members are welcome to fill in the form as well. It helps keep the collection relevant for all readers.

In addition to building a relevant collection, I have implemented a “Golden Ticket” program. Within the collection over 100 “Golden Tickets” have been strategically placed in books. These tickets are on the premise of reading the book, completing a book promotional product, and returning the book, project and ticket to the library for redemption of prizes, photo opportunity, and congratulatory certificate. This program is to introduce the students to new genres, authors or series, before we weed the collection and the books are passed on.

Donations of books are also accepted for the collection. The donations must be in good condition, well bound, and appropriate for the reading level. Books donated are documented with a book plate of the donor’s name. In the coming year, I hope to start a Birthday Book Club, where a book would be purchased or donated in the student’s name on their birthday. Watch for more information on this program in the fall.

MKS is now a member of the Junior Library Guild. This is a subscription service of books delivered to the school every month. I have selected 15 categories of interest for all levels, meaning each month there will be 15-20 books added to the collection. These categories include graphic novels, nonfiction, character building, multicultural topics, high-interest and biographies  for elementary as well as middle school readers. These new books, as catalogued will be prominently displaced as new titles to the collection.

I also participate in the Donors’ Choose program. This allows me to write a project to build the collection based on themes or activities I want to focus on. I presently have a project to bring the titles for the California Young Reader Medal Award. This award is given by the readers of California to the author by voting on the books they have read or heard as a read aloud. You may donate to this project by going to the Donors’ Choose website.

The McKinley “Beehive” does participate in social media. I have a FaceBook page that is updated often with news, projects and events happening in the library. I hope you will visit my page often and see #whatshappeningatyourschool. You can reach the FaceBook page for the MKS Beehive here: