by Ms. Danielle Lewis, Librarian and Learning Center Specialist


It’s School Library Month across the USA and we have exciting news! MTA, as well as Central, has been awarded a Legacy Heritage Library Upgrade / Media Center Challenge Grant. This grant enables the Joseph Alexander Library to upgrade and enfold technology into curriculum and instruction on all grade levels and all subject areas, from Talmud to Topics in Science. The application process included an MTATV student-faculty video that introduced a new personality to the YUHSB family: James Bondskie (“Agent 36”). According to the Legacy Heritage Foundation, MTA received this opportunity because we demonstrated commitment to “delivering an excellent educational product to your students … [and] to expand the use of educational technology in your school.”

Our vision incorporates several component projects: (1) Modernization of the Second Floor library with new tables and an area for leisurely reading. (2) Transparent enclosure of the southern half of the third floor balcony to create a seminar conference room and quiet reading room. (3) Transparent enclosure of the northern half of the third floor balcony as a state of the art, multipurpose language lab and publications/video editing lab. (4) Leading edge technology such as new networked computers, printers, and video cameras; e-book downloading stations, audio and interactive streaming will give students and staff access to authentic, relevant information in formats that address the diverse needs of each unique teen learner. Students and faculty will have on-site ability to create, hone, and evaluate course content, publications, and interactive e-textbooks.

The Joseph Alexander Library will also use the grant to continue our ongoing efforts to reach excellence, notably through collection development: complementing print media with online formats and acquiring audiobooks and other technologies to accommodate differentiated instruction. With a web page and OverDrive e-book lending platform, we are continuously expanding flexible, remote access to resources and the collection. Automating our online catalog and incorporating textbook distribution also extends the library and its ability to share resources beyond our physical walls. The Alexander Foundation generously helps sustain us, but to meet new norms for a new century, our facilities and furnishings must be reconfigured for multiple uses that invite adolescents to engage in rigorous inquiry-based learning, while preserving the library’s historic grandeur. Ms. Lewis, Dr. Taylor and Rabbi Taubes are delighted to see our beloved Lion’s Library emerge as a 21st century library media center that will sustain our students as B’nai Torah, as critical thinkers, and as global citizens.

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