On the second floor of the old Middle School on Main Street in Irvington is a library that has been in use for the past fifty years. Current principal, Raina Kor, decided, when she was assigned to the school last Fall, that the library required a major makeover.
Not only had the school recently shifted to housing the 4th and 5th grades rather than grades 6,7, and 8, it was Kor’s opinion that it was also time to secure funds for a new look for the library itself. Further, up-to-date technical equipment was urgently required in order to provide children with the latest information systems. To proceed, an initial "Site Committee" was created to raise money for the project, and it involved 4 parents and 3 teachers. It was decided that $75,000 would be the target. One of the Village parents, who made herself available to work on the project overseen by the Site group, was Denise Ciccio, who has a son in the 5th grade. Ms. Ciccio reported that she felt that she should get directly involved with the School and that the library would a valuable place for her time and efforts.
It was Denise’s idea to get "outside the box" when it came to raising money and one of her ideas was to organize a concert featuring current artists, many from the New York City area. Assisting Denise in the October 11 concert at the 750 seat "Campus Theatre" in Irvington was an expanded group of citizens and volunteer organizations that donated various services to make the concert possible. Denise plans to raise additional funds through 2 or 3 more concerts, feeling that it is not only a unique way to raise funds, but one that residents can easily relate to and enjoy while helping to provide necessary funding.
On the academic side of the project, several new ideas have been scheduled for the new library facility. Principal Kor explained that the current space lacks state-of-the-art media and technology tools which have become common place in many other elementary schools. The new tools are designed to help children sharpen their research skills and furnish them with information from written textbooks and media which are all involved with today’s latest technology. Kor said that the library will become the hub of the building and will promote 21st century skills while continuing to celebrate literature and the importance of literacy. She also emphasized that she wants to develop a feeling among students that a library is not a place to be avoided, but rather, a critical connection to literature, reading and knowledge-gathering.
Kor pointed out that reading today is as critical as it ever was for students who are preparing for their futures. Their studies now involve technical development that is far more complicated than anything that has preceded it in the past, and it is even more key for the student to be up-to-date.