The Shortest Week In Review

It’s one of our favorite times here at the Matthews Library: Thanksgiving week! As everyone at SCDS prepares for Thanksgiving break filled with turkeys, pumpkin pies, and a variety of carbohydrates, we wrapped up the two day week with a Thanksgiving advisory lunch.

Every year, the High School advisories have turkey sandwiches and share potluck dishes with their fellow classmates. Ms. Melinson’s advisory had quite the buffet: warm mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and pies were highlights of the lunch.

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Ms. Melinson also did some prep work for our annual Winter Craft workshops in December. Can you guess what these will be?


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Week in Review: Speakeasy Edition

We had a couple of our favorite events in the library this week, dear readers, both which center around our love of books, poetry, and food!

Wednesday we had our monthly Book Club, where the brownies were ooey-gooey and the apple cider was nice and hot—and, you know, we all talked about the awesome books we’ve read since the last meeting.

Friday during lunch we had the biannual Glass Knife Speakeasy. Students and faculty read their favorite poems; Gabi read a couple of rad original pieces, and Brandy shared a beautiful poem (that she memorized!) called “The African Child Will Dance,” and Diego sang a song accompanied by guitar. The vibes were groovy, and everyone enjoyed themselves with plates full of cookies, cheese, and fancy breads. We’ll have another Speakeasy at the end of February/beginning of March, so be sure to catch it!

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November Book Club

Wednesday we were delighted to have another Book Club filled with great conversation, brownies, and hot apple cider galore! In fact, Ms. Melinson even made extra hot apple cider—because we know it’s getting cold outside and there’s nothing better than warm apple cider to warm things up!



Ms. Melinson talked about the new David Mitchell book, Slade House—which sounds intriguing and slightly spooky—about a mysterious building in an alley that one is lucky to find the entrance to…and once they enter…they may not be able to ever leave (dun dun dun!).

Vanessa was very excited to see that we added a copy of the graphic novel Motherless Oven to the collection. She talked about it at the last Book Club and we thought it sounded too awesome to pass up!

Dr. Baird was eager to share the novel he just read by Richard Matheson, The Beardless Warriors. Dr. Baird said he does not often get the chance to read novels, but this one was fantastic and depicted a realistic narrative of what the world was like for young men during WWII.

The topics ranged from old-school science fiction to Greek tragedies, to some hefty political debates…and some really great book recommendations!

For a complete list of those books check out our Goodreads page here.

Your Week in Review: Prepare Yourselves. Winter Craft is Coming.

Monday we saw the rain! We were very happy to finally start seeing some of this “rainy Fall weather” that everyone keeps talking about. We hope to have a few more of these cozy rainy days (so long as everyone wipes their feet!)

We celebrated Veteran’s Day on Wednesday—and hope that everyone had a nice little mid-week break to remember those that fought for our country.

And perhaps the most exciting news of all…we figured out the winter craft! Here’s a sneak peek:


Your Week in Review

As we wrap up another week in the Matthews Library, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on all the fun activities we had. Specifically, a shout out to Ms. Melinson for hosting yet another fantastic lunch time coloring & chill session. We’re really proud of this particular pairing:

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If you get it, you get it.

We also had a very productive Glass Knife meeting, where the theme for this year’s book was heavily debated (and super top secret!).


For Leadership Lunch on Wednesday, Elie talked about her trip to Nepal, where she volunteered with her dad to bring medical relief to earthquake victims and other citizens. She had a valuable experience and enjoyed working with the kids the most. And Julia, our Leadership Lunch Coordinator, did a great job providing pizza for everyone. You guys rock!


We also had the 6th and 7th Grade English classes in the library for Fall Book Talks. Ms. Melinson shared dozens of titles (a lot of them ~*spooky*~!) and students were able to check them out/place holds on them to get a jumpstart on their reading for Fall. Fun!


eBook Surprises & Other Annual Survey Results

Each year we survey our 6th graders on their reading habits, and the results are always interesting. Last year we were surprised to see that interest in dystopian books (71%) was continuing to rise as it has been since Hunger Games was published. In fact this year, interest went even higher to 75%. While mystery books continue to rise also, this year’s revelation was that interest in Adventure books rose from 77% to 86%.

Another surprise from last year was that the popularity of eBooks has gone down with our students since their introduction and this year’s survey showed that is still the trend. We also had some clues as to why they prefer print including the inconvenience of running out of juice while you’re reading and having to recharge.

This year 6th graders were asked "Do you prefer print books or ebooks?"

This year 6th graders were asked “Do you prefer print books or ebooks?” Nearly 55% of them prefer print.

2012 6th ebook vs print

6th graders in 2012 were asked the same question, and here’s how they answered. Only 32% of them preferred print.

This year we also asked those 6th graders from 2012 who are currently in 9th grade a similar question, and here are the results.

This year we also asked those 6th graders from 2012 who are currently in 9th grade a similar question, and here are the results. It seems their tastes have changed with almost 64% of them preferring print.

Another thing we noticed is that while in 2012 most students who read ebooks used Kindles, now they’re twice as likely to use an iPad, phone, or computer rather than a Kindle.

We use our survey results to help us make decisions through the year. This year we surveyed all of the high school students in addition to our 6th graders.

  • Since great numbers of students (83%) prefer to be able to talk in the library, the main library will remain the louder room in the library with the smaller room used as our Quiet Room.
  • We’ll be playing classical music one Friday each month since many students (68%) like that idea.
  • Students voted tea and chocolate tastings as their favorite activities to relieve stress with coloring and yoga coming in second.
  • We’ve also started “Chill Sessions,” informal lunchtime discussions.

Finally, in case you were curious about which of our databases is the most marriageable, students voted American History database as the one they’d most like to marry with Issues & Controversies a close second (should we be worried about dysfunctional marriages?)


Last Week in Review…Illustrator Edition!

Last week we were pleased to have illustrator Lisa Brown visit SCDS. She has illustrated such books as The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (a Glass Knife traditional read every year!), Picture the Dead, Vampire Boy’s Good Night, and many more. She also may or may not be married to the elusive Lemony Snicket.

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Lisa spent the morning talking to Lower School students about drawing, and gave a great presentation to Middle School about where she gets ideas for her characters. She shared that she finds a lot of inspiration from everyday people (especially in airports and coffee shops!), as well as old photographs. Then things got colorful when she had the Middle School audience help her come up with a story based on a couple of old photographs. What a treat!

We also enjoyed having the 7th Grade science class in the library all week as they worked on their biomes projects. Look at them go!

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We were also pleased to send off our food donations to the Dyer Kelly food drive—High School students were encouraged to bring in bags of non-perishable grocery items for World Food Day. We had quite the collection taking over the library office!


And the winners are…

For our annual Teen Read Week raffle, Middle School students were able to enter up to 5 book titles they read during the months of September and October. We had an astonishing amount of entries from those folks! We also had some great entries from High School—their entries were selfies shelfies during Banned Books Week and Teen Read Week. Take a peek!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the raffle winners!

High School Raffle Winners

  • Lunch for you + 3 friends provided by the librarian: Lia K.
  • Brownie on a random Tuesday: Anny S., Vanessa P., Sophie N., Saachi S.
  • Mystery prize: Diego P.

Middle School Raffle Winners

  • Lunch for you + 3 friends provided by the librarian: Keerti R.
  • Brownie on a random Tuesday: Carter J., Jordan L., Arikta T., Nora S., Zola G., Catherine M., Kaci K., Lindsay B., Monet C., Sarina R., David S., Victor Z., Ethan M., Elizabeth B., Casey V., Emma B., John G. 
  • Mystery prize: Anu K., Colin U., Rex Y., Charlie Rose T.

October Book Club

Wednesday we had brownies, hot apple cider (we want to believe it’s Fall weather outside!), and Book Club! Our first order of business was the exciting news that we’ve started carrying the New York Review of Books in the library. Dr. Bell was very eager to share his devotion to the publication, as it always contains engaging content (and not just about books!).


And in the spirit of…Spirit Week…Nico and Carlos wore their best pink tutus to support breast cancer awareness month. Way to be fancy, fellas!

Ms. Melinson also talked about some of our new books; we’re thrilled with the new Brian Selznick book, The Marvels, as well as Rick Riordan’s new series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. Anny said that she found it interesting that Riordan was focusing his new series on Norse mythology.

Students had a lot of books to talk about; Amelia was looking forward to reading the Welcome to Night Vale novel (based on the podcast), Diego is enjoying a powerful novel called On the Farms of Love, and Luca is trying to finish The Martian before seeing the film adaptation.

Dr. Bell said he’d been reading a lot of older mystery titles lately, particularly by Dorothy Sayers. He’s just finished reading Murder Must Advertise, and compared it to Mad Men. He offered a little bit of trivia: the phrase “it pays to advertise!” is attributed to Sayers.

Ms. Nellis and Ms. Fels really liked reading The Earth Hums in B Flat for their book club, and described it as a very well-written and engaging story about a young girl in post WWII Wales. They said that Mrs. Batarseh listened to the audiobook, which they found particularly interesting because the narrator was able to pronounce the Welsh names appropriately, while reading the paper version of the book proved that task quite difficult.

Dr. Portillo shared the book she’s been reading, called Radical Remission, which is a book based on research the author did about people that’ve been in cancer remission for 5+ years, and what they did differently that made them successful.

For more information/a complete list of all the books discussed during Book Club, check out out Goodreads page here!

Last Week in Review

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Last week we had some exciting times in the Matthews Library! On Tuesday we had a coloring, cookies, and chill session with high school students. We decided that it would be fun to offer up a space where folks could come and relax during lunch…and, yanno, sharpen up their coloring skills.

We also had the 7th Grade science class in the library to work on their biomes projects. Look how productive they are!

And last Friday was World Food Day (a day of action against hunger). This year we were honored to have a guest speaker, Chef Matt Masera of the recently opened Empress Tavern and the critically acclaimed vegetarian restaurant on K Street, Mother. Chef Matt talked about his adventures in the cooking industry, how he got his start, and finished up with a really cool story about a baby alligator. Chef Matt has worked for Tyler Florence as a Corporate Pastry Chef as well as the Chef de Cuisine at Florence’s flagship restaurant, Wayfare Tavern.