2004-09-24 / Community

Library Helps Kick Off School Year

By Miriam Rosenberg


Jeremy White prepares to demonstrate two of the wireless laptops to some of the young people attending the event.
Jeremy White prepares to demonstrate two of the wireless laptops to some of the young people attending the event. Contributing Editor

The Far Rockaway Library debuted 16 wireless laptop computers for use by middle school and high school students at its annual Back to School Night on September 20. The laptops were paid for by a $16,000 grant from the 21 Century Learning Center and funded by the No Child Left Behind Program.

“The purpose [of the computers] is to increase academic scores of students and provide enriching activities after school hours,” said Laurel Sandor, of the Queens Borough Public Library about the program starts the week of September 27.

Pearlita Holness, the homework monitor and tutor at the Far Rockaway Library, sits at the Information Table to handle questions from students and their parents during the annual Back to School Night at the library.
Pearlita Holness, the homework monitor and tutor at the Far Rockaway Library, sits at the Information Table to handle questions from students and their parents during the annual Back to School Night at the library. Jeremy White, who runs a program for teens at the Far Rockaway branch, will be teaching the young people computer programs such as Dreamweaver, Microsoft and Adobe Photoshop. The teens paid special attention when White announced that he will be showing them how to make their own website with photos and music built in.

As part of the grant, the library is working with MS 43 on Beach 29 Street.

Emilie Castor (right), her son Carl and his friend Carl Edel stop by the Information Table run by Pearlita Holness (left).
Emilie Castor (right), her son Carl and his friend Carl Edel stop by the Information Table run by Pearlita Holness (left). Last year, the branch hosted class visits by 7 and 8 graders and took part in the Exit Project – a research project program for 8 graders.

“Last year we worked with 8 graders and helped with research,” Sandor said. “This year we want to expand using the computers.”

In addition to the new computer program beginning at the library Pearlita Holness, a homework monitor and tutor, supervises the young people who come to use the library to do their homework.

This year, the library also hopes to teach the value of using the library to the students of the Far Rockaway area.

“Librarians believe that kids who tend to use the library do better in school,” Sandor told The Wave.

Part of using the library entails teaching youth how to find and analyze information online.

Sandor also said the library wants students to know that “The library is about information – not just about books.”

The young people of Far Rockaway are not the only ones being targeted by the branch. Getting parents involved are an important element.

“We will be offering different workshops such as choosing a high school and getting ready for college,” explained Sandor. “We want parents to know that libraries are a resource for them as well.”

Other activities during the event that drew between 200 and 225 to the library were the demonstrations by Nick Buron – of Young Adult Services for the Queens Library – of the library’s Tutor.com software as well as free pizza for the teens.

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