South End News: Church, school partnership builds a library

St. Stephen's Youth Programs (SSYP) and the Blackstone Elementary School kicked off their ninth year of a formal partnership and readers of all ages celebrated their love of books. One of the signature projects of SSYP is the school library, which [the school] was without for almost a decade before the partnership.

The Blackstone Library is open to students and teachers five days a week. With close to 12,000 well-organized volumes on the shelves, an online database of these books, regular author visits, a subscription to the search engine EBSCO and a cheery, well-lit space, the Blackstone is one of the premier elementary school libraries in Boston Public Schools. This is all thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers and resources raised outside of the school's regular budget.

Library volunteers, who are neighborhood residents and members of suburban Episcopal churches, welcome two-thirds of the school's classrooms (23 of 35) for weekly visits to the library for read-alouds and book-borrowing. Adults work hard to get to know each young person in grades K0 to 5, helping students find the "just-right" book to read independently.

View original: South End News