As guests filed down the aisles of the PS 8 auditorium during the Bedford Park school’s celebration of their new library, the Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” blared from a boom-box.
“I love this song,” said 5th grader Iris Bermudez. “It just feels hopeful.”
For many, the new library is just that — a symbol of hope.
“The library should be the hub of the school,” said head librarian Robin Rosen in her opening speech. “Students will have open access to the library. We will do projects in collaboration with our teachers and also offer all sorts of activities.”
Rosen quoted former U.S. Commissioner of Education, Harold Howe, who said, “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.”
The ceremony featured several musical performances and poetry readings by contest winners — 5th grader Ganimete Mujaj and 2nd grader Bushra Zaman — who read their original poems about the new library.
Last week’s celebration also included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which unveiled the new library. The new space offers students many quiet reading corners and is equipped with new Mac computers, a new Smartboard and a flat screen TV.
“It’s so cool!” said 5th grader Richard Bernard, sitting in front of one of the new computers with a big smile on his face.
PS 8 student Daniel Richardson said Rosen runs a reading group in the library and that it is the best part of his week. “We read famous writers that use really big words that we don’t understand, but together, we learn them,” he said. “Our new library will help bring our reading group to the next level.”
“PS 8 is a star,” said special guest City Council Member Oliver Koppell, who was honored with a plaque during the ceremony in recognition of his support for the school.”
He explained to the students that government spends a lot of money on education (though big cuts were made on the state level). “If we cannot educate you adequately, not only do you fail, but society fails,” he said.
He also explained that he was currently working to provide funding to PS 8 in next year’s budget.
The crowed erupted with cheers. He added that he is also committed to making sure that, despite the budget crunch, no teachers get laid off next year, “There is nothing more important,” he said.
Principal Rosa Peralta honored Rosen, the librarian, with a bouquet of flowers. “They are symbolic of the kind of person she is,” Peralta said, turning to Rosen. “Even though it’s raining outside, you make it sunny.”
As for the library, “I think this is just fabulous!” Peralta said, “It’s a great opportunity for our children and our whole community.”