• The Heart of Our Schools & The Heart of Town

    The Library 


    Public schools and public libraries are important institutions that continue to play a crucial role in our society. Each has existed in some form, for hundreds of years, and each has gone through a litany of transitions and transformations to meet the needs of their communities. Schools and libraries are anchors for successful and vibrant communities, foundational bodies that offer opportunity.


    In Cherry Hill, the district has been committed to nurturing and expanding the working relationship between the schools and the public library.  A catalyst in the successful relationship has been the visionary leadership of Laverne Mann, the Director of the Cherry Hill Public Library. Hired as the Director in February 2013, Laverne laid out her vision for the library in an interview with the Cherry Hill Sun, a local newspaper. “We will be adding new, creative programs for all populations . . .  as well as expanding our outreach and building stronger partnerships with . . . our schools.” 


    Laverne Mann constantly and consistently is searching for paths to a make positive impact in the community. A staunch advocate for shaping an inclusive and welcoming environment in the public library, and in the community, Laverne amplifies the voices of the often unheard and marginalized, eliminating barriers to access and inclusion.


    In the ten years that Laverne and I have known each other and worked together, we have committed our time and our efforts to connecting our resources and our opportunities to the benefit of the community, with a focus on the students of Cherry Hill. Much of the work of our partnership can be categorized in the following areas:


    1. Access to information and resources
      • The availability of the collection of materials – in print and online – at the Cherry Hill Library dramatically expands the resources that the school librarians are able to make available to students. The librarians work together to identify natural and seamless opportunities to work together to provide unique experiences for students – in school and onsite at the public library.
    2. Promotion of literacy
      • Librarians are some of the greatest educators and student advocates that we have. All children benefit from the development of literacy skills. The vast selection of books, from picture books to traditional novels, to graphic novels, and texts in multiple languages – available in print and electronically – offers authentic access to a wide range of reading materials. Fostering a love for, and enjoyment of, reading encourages students to read for pleasure. The school librarians and public librarians collaborate on author experiences, book samplings, and an exploration of a variety of genres.

    The Cherry Hill Library staff goes out of their way to provide library cards to as many children a year as they possibly can, and they organize events and activities that engage children – and their families – 12 months out of the year. The invest of time, energy and resources serves as a direct benefit to the children of Cherry Hill.

    1. Support for learning
      • The Cherry Hill Library hosts students from the school district, every day that it is open during the calendar year. Through the traditional 10-month school year, there are students of various ages and grades who congregate in the library to complete assignments, do research, prepare for assessments, and participate in creative and engaging activities.
    2. Fostering critical thinking skills
      • Students are absolutely bombarded with information, around the clock, through the electronic devices that they utilize. They must be taught to evaluate and analyze the information they find and to which they are exposed, ensuring it is accurate and relevant, and authentic. This ability helps to develop critical thinking skills, which are essential for academic success and lifelong learning. The time and effort that are invested in nurturing the relationship between the schools and the public library allow for children to be comfortable in seeking support and guidance from the librarians in both settings.
    3. Creating a sense of community
      • School libraries and the public library collect and archive historical materials. The public library is much broader in the scope of available materials and a natural extension of what is studied in school. Access to newspapers, photographs, township and school district records, and variety of other materials, are made available to students and families. The availability of this information allows and encourages students to learn about the community’s history.

    A librarian from the Cherry Hill Library is a regular attendee at, and participant in, district PTA meetings and events. The Library staff attends Back to School Night events in the fall to sign up children and families for library cards and to provide information about upcoming events.

    The Cherry Hill Library staff are annual participants in the district’s New Staff Orientation each August, providing all district staff members with a library card and access to all materials and resources.

    1. Supporting the profession
      • School librarians are critically essential staff members in schools. They are differences makers in the lives of so many children, every single day. School librarians are difference makers for children who have learning challenges and learning deficits, who are learning English, and who need additional connections. The public library and the district know that the sum of our parts, and the expertise of our staff, is exponentially expanded when we work together.  By working together, we achieve greater impact then we could on our own, leading to more significant and lasting improvements for our students.


    The partnership between the Cherry Hill Public School District and the Cherry Hill Public Library is foundational in the pursuit of our work. Our paths are intertwined and interconnected as we serve the community together. The successful and visible relationship between our institutions is woven in the fabric of who we are and what we do, and it is something that is now understood and expected in our educational community.