Who We Are
The mission of the school library media program is to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information.--- "Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning" (1998) ALA/AECT
My name is Tara LaCerra and I am the library media specialist at Wesmoor Elementary School. I have been teaching at Westmoor since 2003 and have loved every moment of it. In 2002, I received my B.S. in Elementary Education from Loyola University and in 2003 I graduated from Dominican University with a Masters in Library and Information Science. During the 2009-2010 school year I worked toward National Board Certification in Library and Information Science and achieved this accreditation in November 2010. This has been one of my most fulfilling accomplishments, thus far, in my professional career. I am married and have four children (all girls!), which keep me busy. I am a resident of Northbrook and love being able to live and work in the same community!
My partner in crime is Kim Burnson. She is the library aide and this is her first year working in the library. When she isn't checking out books and shelving those that are returned, she is repairing torn or "broken" books, teaching enrichment Kindergarten classes, helping students and teachers find information and resources, and cataloging our newest and greatest additions to the collection. Be sure to introduce yourself to her when you come in!
What Are Our Resources?
The LRC has over 15,000 items, principally fiction and nonfiction books that can be checked out for two weeks, and renewed for two more weeks. Students can have up to 12 books checked out at a time, and no more than 3 materials overdue at any given time in order to check out.
Before school, the LRC is open for team meetings, and to individual teachers or parent volunteers needing books or multimedia materials. During school, every K-5 classroom is scheduled to check out books once a week. Grades K-2 are scheduled to come into the library once a week for check out and library skills while grades 3-5 are on a flexible schedule where classroom teachers sign up for a designated time in the library to perform research or learn information literacy skills that are directly tied to curricular content.
After school, students and staff may check out print materials. Grade level teams, special services and departmental staff seek assistance in creating new research activities matched to their curricular units, and in selecting new materials to enrich the project lessons.
What Are We Learning?
Kindergartners and First graders
These students begin the year with important lessons about library policies, caring for resources and checking out materials. Students practice their reading comprehension as we discuss predicting, schema, and metacognition as we read our stories. Next, they come to understand that their favorite nonfiction books are arranged by subject and that fiction books are arranged by author. By the end of the year, students have an excellent understanding of award-winning books and various genres such as fairy tales and poetry.
Second and Third Graders
Second and third graders become quite adept at computer catalog searching, putting call numbers on call slips, and locating personal book choices independently. They love researching print and non-print encyclopedias as well as nonfiction books in order to collect information on various science and social studies topics prior to completing their reports for the classroom. Many of these students are "hooked" on chapter books, which are part of their favorite series, a whole class novel, or the newest book by their favorite author. Students enjoy book talks at least once every trimester, researching using our digital subscriptions, and studying various genres.
Fourth and Fifth Graders
Fourth and fifth graders continue to read several recommended novels with their class as well as select additional fiction and nonfiction for their recreational reading. Students learn to use a much larger range of encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, almanacs, indexes and online sources. They use the information accessed from these sources to complete longer research papers while practicing the basic study and information skills such as note-taking and citing resources. These students also have lessons on digital citizenship, website evaluation, and media bias.