Thanks to the generosity of former faculty member Dr. Barbara Beitch, books are flying off the shelves in the Lower School Library.
Each year, Dr. Beitch honors the memory of her daughter Deborah, who graduated from Hamden Hall in 1982, by supporting an initiative in the Lower School. This year, the Deborah Beitch Jenness 1982 Memorial Fund provided two new slat-wall and display units, allowing more space to highlight books visually. The result has been a measurable increase in young readers spotting the books exhibited, being enticed to make choices, and taking more books home.
“It’s evident that these new display units serve the exact purpose intended,” said Pamela Wilonski, Lower School librarian whose proposal to Dr. Beitch was entitled, Sow the Seeds, Harvest the Readers. “I filled the two new sections with back-to-school books three times before we even had our first day of school. Mission accomplished!”
Mrs. Wilonski explained that visual displays are significant components of the vital goal of serving young students and supporting teachers. Studies show that when books are displayed, a higher checkout rate automatically occurs. Book displays support both classroom and library curriculum, and the best place for a library to display books is at the end of a bookcase using slat-wall panels.
“Book displays have the power to generate excitement within the entire Lower School community,” Mrs. Wilonski. “Moreover, book displays instill the bond that nurtures learning and reading among even the youngest students at our school. Here at Hamden Hall, we want our students to be given this rich, literary experience.”
Dr. Beitch is very pleased to “harvest young readers” and finds the project very meaningful, noting that it honors Deborah’s love of children.
“This project is a well-thought-out idea,” Dr. Beitch added. “It’s something that will be long lasting in its effects and will reach a broad audience over time."
Mrs. Wilonski uses the space primarily to highlight award-winning authors, titles reserved for summer reading and reading incentive programs, teacher-supported books, and “crisp, new additions.”
“I speak on behalf of the Hamden Hall community when I say that we are very grateful to Dr. Beitch for her very thoughtful gift,” Mrs. Wilonski said. “Sowing the Seeds supports our mission of instilling a love for books, reading, and learning in our Lower School Library.”