Sometimes you look but don't see. Once you realize that, the Galluzzo Media Center at Xavier offers so much to get the mind working.
It is more than the books on the shelves -- and there are about 11,000 of them -- and the computers on the tables.
Look and you shall see ...
Each month there are four topical displays of books lining the outside wall. April included Easter and Earth Day. In December, the four displays were for Advent (Hope, Peace, Joy, Love). In January one display was called Happy New Year (1 year = 365 opportunities); in February one of the displays highlighted Black History Month.
On the way into the library, on the wall to the right, is a rack of largely monthly magazines; there are about 20 subscriptions.
Take a few steps, and on the wall is the "Word Of The Day." It can be a fortuitous opportunity to learn something new, and we're not just saying that because one day the word "fortuitous" appeared. The display defines the word, shows some synonyms, uses the word in a sentence.
At the main desk one finds the SAT "Question Of The Day," always a challenge, sometimes a head scratcher. Check that. Often times a head scratcher. Lighten the mind a bit by looking to the right, where the "Snapple Cap Fact Of The Day" offers this: "It takes an interaction of 72 muscles to produce human speech." Who knew?
"I try to keep the displays festive, fresh and interesting ... something for everyone," Media Center Coordinator Monica Marselli said. "I notice the students looking at them and sometimes they will check out a book that I put on display that maybe wouldn't otherwise have occurred to them."
Head librarian Debbie Gargano, who also teaches computer essentials and SAT review classes, says some of her priorities are working with teachers and students on how to use the tools available, especially in this online age.
Both have the goal of making the library a welcoming place for students.
"My goal is to be welcoming and helpful, and to be a part of a support system that helps them succeed," Marselli said. "After working in a public library for 12 years, I know how libraries are sometimes perceived, and I want to make sure the students are not afraid to ask questions and that they want to come in and utilize the space and resources."
Gargano sees the library as a place to expand one's horizons.
"It's a place to collaborate, get work done, explore topics beyond the school curriculum," Gargano said.
All of the various touches in the library can lead to interaction.
"Sometimes, students will stand in front of my desk and try to solve the SAT question of the day, discuss the Snapple fact or try to use the word of the day in a sentence," Marselli said.
The library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, so it provides the students with about 45 minutes before school and about three hours after school. Anyone can visit during lunch periods; seniors can come in during free periods.
Xavier is a private, Catholic all-boys high school in Middletown, CT.