White Plains Library Program Introduces Eastview Middle School Students to “The Edge”

Eastview Middle School students participated in several programs at the White Plains Library last week including coding, which is shown above. Neal Rentz Photo

It is typical for students graduating and moving to a new school within a district to get a look at their new place of learning prior to moving in at the start of the next school year in September.

For the past few years a similar program has been held at the White Plains Public Library.

Beginning on June 13, for five days, groups of about 125 sixth-grade Eastview students per school day spent their day at the library as part of the annual program.

Joshua Carlson, the library’s manager of youth services, said last week the days included several programs for students. Some of the projects included constructing geometric shapes with foam noodles, engineering projects, digital app projects, coding projects and a scavenger hunt to introduce students to the library’s services, Carlson said. The students also visited The Edge, the teen section of the library.

“These are all current sixth graders going into the seventh grade,” Carlson said. “Up until now they’ve been using The Trove, our children’s library which is through grade six. At the end of grade six they graduate into The Edge.” The Edge is for students in grades seven through 12.

“This is a good way to get them to come to the building, be reacquainted with the library if they haven’t been here for a while and also to see what they are now going to be able to have access to going into The Edge. It’s a different space,” Carlson said.

As part of the program, the sixth graders received The Edge library cards. “It’s sort of a little moving up ceremony at the library,” Carlson said.

“We’re having a blast,” Carlson said. “There’s a lot going on.”

One of the programs offered to youths at The Edge is The Extraordinaire’s that teaches both design thinking skills and empathy, Carlson said. “It’s all about end user focus as opposed to what you personally think is good,” he said. “They’ll be given a person or a character and they have to design something to meet that person’s needs.”

The program for the middle school students was made possible by a grant from the Allstate Foundation, Carlson noted.

Eastview Middle School sixth grade math teacher Tina Bernstein explained the library program for the sixth grade students has been so successful because it is “promoting local activities, getting kids into the library, knowing that a library’s more than just a place to take books out. It’s a place to congregate. It’s a place to participate in activities. We know the library does activities over the summer so we’d like to promote that for the students.”

A focus of the program is collaborative work, Bernstein said. “The teamwork here has been fantastic,” she said. “They really feed off of each other and provide each other with help to figure out what they need to accomplish.”

Two of the middle school students said they were enjoying the program. “I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I spent a lot of time with my friends and my teachers. It was amazing.” She said she regularly comes to the library to do research for school. “I think that the library is a very important part of someone’s life because there’s everything that you need – books, computers, people who are there to help you.”

Another student said, “I think it’s really fun. You learn a lot of things from here. And I feel like if people learn a lot they will come here more. When people come here they just think automatically about books, but it’s really more than that.”

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