Raise A Stem for the Library

An old Latin saying stipulates five motives for drinking: “the arrival of a friend; one’s present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason. “ At the International School, we offer another incentive to tip a glass at the May 16th Wine Tasting: our Library.

Although the library at TIS was started just over a year ago thanks to generous donations at the 2007 autumn auction, it has already become an integral part of our children’s curriculum, a resource for teachers and parents, and a vital component of our International Baccalaureate program.

The Library touches all of the students at TIS. In our electronically connected world, the Library programs teach students how to access information, sort through it, and synthesize and present it. TIS graduates will need to have honed these skills before proceeding to middle school.

The Library also strives to engender an early love of reading. This spring, 60 TIS students from kindergarteners to fifth graders in all three tracks participated in the First Annual TIS Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award Challenge, joining students from all over Oregon in reading and voting for their favorite nominated book. The Library also sponsored “Track Tales”: an evening story time in the three target languages. This summer, the Library will organize a reading program to encourage students to devote some time “between covers” over break.

Teachers also depend on our Library to support the curriculum. Busy with class preparations, TIS instructors should be able to dash into the Library and grab the resources they need that morning for their class. As you can imagine, it is very satisfying to be able to fulfill their requests, and equally, it stings when the Library does not yet have the particular resource they need.

Parents too appreciate the many target language children’s videos in our stacks, as well as the books we have to loan to their children. How many parents have paused as they came across a book or video their child has chosen, and taken a peek at this new of-the-moment interest? The Library also supplied grade-appropriate resources for the annual Science Fair, giving many parents and children inspiration and how-to’s for their project.

Currently the TIS Library has over 5,000 titles, but given that we need comprehensive resources across four languages (Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and English), we need many more volumes to serve the TIS community. Moreover, a library is a requirement for an IB school and the springboard for all inquiry-based classroom research. In addition to having materials that support the regular curriculum, our IB standing means our resources must support the character education aspect of IB, teaching attributes such as caring, risk-taking, and responsibility.

The Library also needs more computers for student projects. The second through fifth graders are completing their research and Power Point projects on authors in groups, but it would be wonderful for them to work in pairs on more computers in future years. The Library would also like to create Literacy Backpacks geared towards pre-K-first grade students, which would include a book, audio tape, and stuffed animal, and could be easily borrowed by students or parents. In addition, the Library hopes to launch a multi-lingual book club in track languages and English.

I hope that you find time to drop into our cheery little Library, if you are not already a regular. I also invite you to come to the TIS Wine Tasting. As the famous Japanese poet and Buddhist monk Yosida Kenko noted in the fourteenth century, “One should write skillfully in the running script, be able to sing in pleasing voice and keep good time to music; and, lastly, a man should not refuse a little wine when it is pressed upon him:” especially, we might add, when it is for such a noble cause.

Tamara Beecroft-Fornell

Library Committee Members
Kimberley Braun
Heather Clydesdale
Chris Higgins
Arkady Mak
Elizabeth Wolf