CPS invited to State House for Library Legislative Day

by Karina Coombs

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DESIGN TEAM SHOWCASES AT STATE HOUSE. Left to Right: Library Media Specialist Maya Bery, Elementary Art Teacher Rachel Levy and Engineering Aide Ginny Lamere unveil their collaboration, Project City X, designed for third grade students, at the State House in Boston. (Courtesy photo) 

The Carlisle School (CPS) was well represented at the State House on March 7 for Library Legislative Day, where Library Media Specialist Maya Bery, Elementary Art Teacher Rachel Levy and Engineering Aide Ginny Lamere showcased an interdisciplinary design program on which they recently collaborated: Project City X. 

“It was a huge honor to be selected for the showcase and to demonstrate to people from across the state what we're doing in Carlisle together,” said Bery. As CPS was one of the few schools selected to participate in the program that featured many presentations from town libraries, Superintendent Jim O’Shea was also in attendance for the event. 

Project City X is an interdisciplinary problem-solving project that challenges students to design an invention that would address a host of problems encountered by City X, the first human colony living on another planet. Carlisle third-grade students considered issues ranging from health and safety to transportation, and designed a solution that residents of the new colony could build with a 3D printer. After brainstorming, designs were then drawn, modeled in clay, modeled with a computer assisted design (CAD) program, and finally printed on a 3D printer. Students presented their completed designs to parents and teachers.

“I am so fortunate to have both Maya and Ginny as knowledgeable and talented fellow collaborators,” Levy said. “By combining our strengths in research, design and technology we were able to present a new and innovative lesson to all third grade students.” While at the State House, the group was able to meet with aides from the offices of Representative Cory Atkins and Senator Michael Barrett. “[They] were tremendously impressed by the student work we brought with us to share,” said Bery.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Library Association and the Massachusetts School Library Association, Library Legislative Day provides an opportunity to speak with legislators and garner their support for library funding. Lamere pointed out that funding for state libraries has been in steady decline since 2001: a 48.2% decline in 17 years, with no sign of a change in trajectory. Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center shows that libraries would receive $25 million under Governor Baker’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget. 

Bery explained that library funding provides a number of important benefits for students at CPS, including free access to vital databases that provide students access to reliable and quality research sources, such as Kids InfoBits and Encyclopedia Britannica. Funding also supports Gleason Library’s interlibrary loan program, which CPS uses to support a number of school projects, for example, the second grade Genius Hour and the sixth grade Poverty Project. 

According to Bery, CPS is also in the process of enrolling in the state’s electronic, or e-book, collection that will give both students and teachers access to thousands of electronic books. “These are all possible because of the Mass Library System,” she said, cautioning that, “many of these services are at risk if budgets continue to fall.”

To learn more about the project presented, visit the Project City X website: http://www.cityxproject.com.