April is National School Library Month and, as your MPA librarian, I would like to welcome everyone to visit the library! Starting with the PK 4 class, Lower School classes come each week for library time. Students play games and do activities to practice information literacy skills which are coordinated with units being taught by their classroom teachers. For example, I have a great time gathering and sharing books and materials for Global Explorers Week in March when each class focuses on a particular country. In preparation for choosing and checking out books, library classes also include time for reading aloud and discussing picture books, highlighting chapter books, and allowing students to explore displays of books related to seasonal, genre, or topical themes.

libraryMiddle and Upper School students come occasionally to the library with their teachers, but are also encouraged to come independently. This year, students have come looking for books for history projects about topics such as the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, terrorism, and the Cold War. They have found materials to help with research for a unit on revolutions ranging from the Revolutionary War to the Scientific Revolution to the Russian Revolution. While the internet may be a better source for current events, our school library has good collections of books in the areas of biography, history, religion, philosophy, ancient civilizations, world cultures, and social justice. We have a collection of vinyl records for music history buffs and shelves full of books for fans of literary classics and the arts. Our library has a special collection of books on Abraham Lincoln and books about the history and people of Chicago. Stored behind-the-scenes are back issues of several periodicals like Time Magazine which are useful to give a picture of important events and popular culture through the decades. We add to our collection through the Parent Organization’s annual Book Fair and other generous donations. School community members are always encouraged to donate books or make suggestions for items they would like to see added to the collection.

Interested in reading for pleasure or increasing your knowledge? Here are some tools for finding out what is available:

  • Click here for a link to the MPA Library Online Catalog. The catalog allows library patrons to search for books and other materials by title, author, subject, keywords, series, or use other types of searches. There is also a “What’s Hot?” running display of book titles recently checked out by students or other members of the school community.  
  • Once you find the book title or the topic you seek, please explore the shelves and feel free to ask Mrs. Arnold for help in locating books. In our library, fiction books are arranged by the last names of authors and nonfiction books are arranged using the Dewey Decimal System.
  • Please also feel free to send email requests to Mrs. Arnold for help searching for books and other library materials.
  • The librarian can check out books or, if she is not available, please record your items in the spiral notebook on the blue book cart in Mancini Library. You may also leave a note on Mrs. Arnold’s desk in the Lower School library with your name, the title, and number from the computer barcode label. The librarian keeps track of book checkout data using our computer catalog software system.
  • Click here to access ebooks and audiobooks. Our school is part of the eRead Illinois program which has a large collection of digital print and audiobooks available to patrons of Illinois public and school libraries. This is a great way to find and enjoy reading old favorites or recent books not yet added to our Mancini Library collection.
  • Please check out the site, download the app to your devices, and try it out. All faculty/staff members and students in grades 6-12 have accounts already set up and can log in to check out or put a hold on materials you wish to read. Your library card ID is your school email address and everyone has the same PIN: mpa. Mrs. Arnold has created a patron list for this service, but if there are errors or omissions, please let her know, as well as if there are any questions or problems with eRead Illinois.


By Harriet Arnold

Ms. Arnold is our school librarian.