For this new edition of #HowWeGotThis, we are speaking with Marie-Noëlle HENDREN and Nadine LE MAITRE, our primary school librarians on the Sausalito and Ashbury campuses respectively, who for the past 15 to 20 years curated our libraries of our primary campuses.
LFSF : You organized a virtual book fair for the Sausalito and Ashbury campuses, providing French books for young children. Can you tell us more about how it works and how it differs from previous years' book fairs?
Marie-Noëlle: The Advancement Department has given us a lot of support in the organization of the "virtual book fairs" as well as all the parent volunteers! This year, the difference is that parents and children cannot look at the books....But it did allow parents to buy books for their children when they didn’t have the opportunity to purchase them in France this summer.
Nadine: With the Advancement Team we realized that we couldn't do a book fair on campus, even if it was hosted outdoors. Nevertheless, getting books to children was even more important this year. Many parents did not have the opportunity to buy them in France during the vacations. That is how the idea of doing a " virtual book fair" came to us. With the help of the Advancement Department and a group of parent volunteers that I thank very much, the book fair took place!
LFSF : What gave you the idea to organize virtual book fairs? What is your feedback on this experience and its organization?
Marie-Noëlle: It was the Advancement Department’s idea and parent volunteers made it come true! Many thanks to them!
Nadine: I agree with Marie-Noëlle and I would like to add that without the involvement of parent volunteers, the book fair could not have been set up so quickly.
LFSF: The current pandemic crisis is disrupting our daily lives. How does it affect you, professionally speaking? How do you manage to adapt, and which of these changes do you think are long-term?
Marie-Noëlle: Because of the pandemic crisis, students can no longer come to the library and learn how to find their way around it. Since they cannot come and get the books,I decided to bring books and magazines to them. I’m taking advantage of our beautiful and spacious outdoor space to read books outside to students from La Petite Ecole to Kindergarten. Since the weather has been very nice since the Sausalito campus opened in early September, I have only had to do a zoom session once. We will revert to zoom sessions, when we can't do otherwise.
Nadine: The situation forced us to close the libraries. And since the children can no longer get the books, we bring the books to them.
With the creation of a digital library last March, zoom sessions were held to give students access to books and audio stories. I wouldn’t say this was a change but rather an addition to what we offer as librarians. Thus, I will continue to post stories on the school's website, in the format of short videos, to allow everyone, especially English-speaking families, to listen to stories in French outside of school hours.
LFSF: What will this year look like for LFSF libraries? Do you have any events planned for this particular year that you would like to talk about?
Marie-Noëlle: We always do a book fair before the summer, if we can do it in person, we will. If not, it will be another virtual book fair!
Nadine: Why not make a new book fair? It could be online or in person if the context allows it.
LFSF : Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. To conclude this exchange is there a particular message you would like to share to the community?
Marie-Noëlle: I wish you all very happy holidays and very, very happy reading!
Nadine: It is always a joy to see a child smile when you hand him/her a book or when you read him/her a story. I wish you all many and happy readings!
#HowWeGotThis is our series of testimonials showing how our teams and community are pioneering, reinventing themselves and imagine new ways to operate in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.