MyLibraryNYC and Learning About the Library

MyLibrary_light-blueThis past month we were busy with distributing new MyLibraryNYC cards to all our students at Flushing High School.   These new cards gave our students access to NYC, Brooklyn and Queens public library systems.  I compared the library card to a passport, with these cards our students can “travel” the world.   These cards permit our students to borrow books and other media from all three New York City public library systems.    They also have access to all of the databases that the NYC public libraries subscribe to.

It was very important to me to distribute the cards with great panache.  We  wanted students to take advantage of  the many databases, fun programs and materials available from the public library.  This lesson was given to all high school students.  We modified our lessons for different learning styles and grade levels.

A great introduction to the lesson was short ten minute film:  Libraries Now: A Day in the Life  , available for download on the NYPL site.


Depending on student interest and time allocation, I sometimes abbreviated the film and just had students view the first four minutes of the film, then went to the 8 minute point and showed the teen advisory meeting and the conclusion.

Following the film, I gave out postcards produced by the Queens Public Library and had students write their representative about why the library should be open at least six days a week.

The next activity was a short reading about library services.  I used 4 different handouts with the students:

  1. For ninth and tenth graders I used a handout “Library Services” from Your Taxes at Work, Community Resources. (8). Suter, Joann.  “Library Services”. Community Resources Student Worktext. Saddleback Publishing. (2011)
  2. For eleventh and twelth grade students, I distributed the article: Greer, Jeff. “4 Reasons Why the Library Should Affect Your College Choice.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 17 June 2010. Web. 17 June 2014.
  3. For more advanced students, I also used the following articles:“10 Facts about Americans and Public Libraries.” Pew Research Center RSS. Pew Research Center, 24 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 June 2014.
  4. Performance Indicators: Queens  Borough Public Libraries:”Public Libraries.” page 9. Mayor’s Management Report. New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations, 2013.


I created question sheets for each document and had different groups of students analyze different documents. Below are examples of sample student answers:

4 quad worksheet












2 quad worksheet











For a final assessment students wrote answers with permanent marker  to the following questions on light bulb templates (see post below for example of student work).

  1. What have you learned at the Flushing High School library?
  2. How can a school librarian help you?
  3. Why are school libraries important?
  4. importance school libraries lightbulb2lightbulb3school

Summer is a great time to explore

Even if you are having a “staycation” there are plenty of places to explore in New York City.  The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens has a great exhibit about Jim Henson.  Didn’t know he was so ahead of his time with his ideas about cartooning and visual thinking.  The museum is a great place for a rainy day. It is also an eye opener for teens.  There are so many careers available in the world of movie making.  The museum also exhibits all the details of creating a script and students could see the hard work that must go into even a “8 second” commercial!!!

The Learning Network Teaching and Learning With the New York TimesDid you know students can take a tour of the New York Times factory in College Point, Queens?  The papers go to press at 6:00 pm each evening. Students can see tomorrow’s paper today, and may even preview the Sunday magazine section several days ahead.  This summer lucky teachers, including me, got to tour the New York Times factory and meet the editors of the Learning Blog, a great resource for teachers.  I met Katherine Schulten, the creator of the learning blog, who shared some great ways to teach critical reading skills. For more great lesson plans, visit the Learning Network Blog from