Swain Library News

November/December 2012

November and December Events

The library's new middle and upper school Minecraft Club began meeting in early December. 26 students belong to the club, which meets weekly on Thursdays and Fridays. The students play on two different servers, one for the MS and one for the US. So far, the students have created amazing structures both above- and below-ground.

The Library Advisory Board sponsored Game Night on December 20, the last day of school before the winter break. 48 students attended.

The week of December 17-20, upper school students decorated over 500 snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary School. The snowflakes were delivered to Chalk Hill, the students' new school, by Lorri Carroll on Friday, December 21. (Click on the image above to see a larger version of it.)

Circulation & New Acquisitions


Overall, circulation decreased 17% from September and October, from 1186 circulations to 987. This is because both November and December are short months, meaning that many lower school students do not check out new materials for several weeks.

However, due to booktalking with middle and upper school students before the Thanksgiving and winter breaks, circulation of the Young Adult collection jumped from 39 in September and October to 140 in November and December (a 359% increase).

Notable New Acquisitions


We are developing a new section in the Lower School Library: a special designation for graphic novels. Many of our lower school students are attracted to this genre. By giving these books special labels, they will be easier to locate. The students are enthusiastic about this change.

All the new materials acquired by the Library so far this academic year have been cataloged and processed and are ready to circulate. In addition, a new collection of professional development materials in available in the Faculty Lounge.

Research & Instruction

Digital Resources (Middle and Upper School)

Total Searches, November & December (through 12/20)


5061 (640% increase from Sept/Oct)

Issues & Controversies

68 (83% decrease from Sept/Oct)

Bloom's Literary Reference Online

730 (624% increase from Sept/Oct)


656 (140% increase from Sep/Oct)

Overall increase in database usage from Sept/Oct: 330%

Lower School Classes - Highlights

The second grade compiled a list of symbols that represent the second grade at Hamden Hall in 2012. They used software called Pixie to make drawings of their symbols and they composed a sentence or two explaining what their symbol was and why they chose it. They put the pictures and explanations together in a VoiceThread project.

Grade 3 has completed its study of Native American tribes of the Northeast, Plains, Southwest and Northwest. We have read many folktales in the library, and talked about the ways that the stories reflect the cultures of the different tribes. The students then blogged from the perspective of children in a particular tribe.

Grade 5 students have been introduced to the new iPads that are now housed in the library. They have explored the library pages on the Hamden Hall website, done a bit of research, and created a short presentation on Educreations. Students love using this tool and look forward to getting back to it soon.

The sixth grade came to the library to begin their study of Egypt. They learned how to narrow a search on the library catalog, and they located books about their topics. These books were then sent to Mrs. Hunter's classroom where they were available for students as they researched and wrote their reports. They were then instructed in using EasyBib for their citations.

Middle & Upper School Classes

Ninety-seven middle and upper school classes met in the library tech center over the course of November and December (this does not include classes that met in the library proper). Of these, 32 focused on library instruction, including online research, EasyBib and MLA citation, and plagiarism. Many classes met in the library itself; notably, several history classes conducted scavenger hunts in the library stacks with iPads in hand. In addition, Karen Swain's ninth grade students attended booktalks, which is the first time an upper school class has participated in this activity.

Aside from classes, 27 English and history students participated in one-on-one appointments in the library for help with MLA citations and research.