Carlson Library offers many benefits to students

One of the most important parts of DePaul Prep is also one of the most overlooked. From homework help, to just checking out a book, the Carlson Library holds a special place in the school community.

The Carlson Library has so many books to choose from, but just a couple of years ago, there was not a single book at all.

Three years ago, when Tony Powers (Mr. Powers to the students) came to DePaul Prep, he had to start his collection development efforts for what is now the books in our library. Powers uses many resources to curate the library’s collection.

I use different tools put together by educators’ library book reviewer’s, and I rely heavily on my former colleagues at the Chicago Public library as to what the trends are.” This means almost all of the books in our library were chosen by teenagers’ interests, here at DePaul College Prep and in general. Today, the Carlson Library has hundreds of books ranging from nonfiction to fiction to even graphic novels/manga.

Besides having  books, the library offers much more. Homework help is a big part of this. Before school, during study halls, and even after school, teachers in almost every subject are there to help students who need it.

Peter Sisto, one of DePaul Prep’s math teachers, helps students regularly in the Resource Hub, stationed in the Carlson Library.

“I believe the Resource Hub serves as the most accessible and effective way to seek extra help outside of class time.  Every student can take advantage of this opportunity since it is open throughout the entire school day.  We have so many dedicated teachers posted in the Resource Hub during their prep periods to support the learning of our students.”

Madeline Flesner, another math teacher, values the Resource Hub as a way for students who are busy outside of school to receive extra help and as a vehicle for meeting students outside her class.

“The Resource Hub provides a chance for me to work with my current students, my past students, and students I haven’t met before.”

Another huge part of the library is research help/media literacy. Mr Powers believes that, “Developing the ability to critically think about the information that you’re consuming is what I hope people learn.”

Even aside from help, the library hosts many clubs, events, and even colloquiums. The Money Matters Club is probably the most known co-curricular activity in the library. Just recently, the library held an investment talk, and now the library is decorated for Christmas hiding Hermey the elf each week for students and teachers trying to get a prize.

On the student’s side, the library is a place to relax. Junior Michael Scarpelli appreciates the calming effect the space has.

“There’s just something so relaxing about being surrounded by books, it’s really peaceful. The people in the library are respectful and very helpful. The seating is very flexible, there’s couches and rolling chairs, which allows me to sit wherever I need to feel comfortable. The atmosphere is always usually quiet, which helps me to calm down and reflect on any aspect of the day that I need.”

Freshman Izaiah Harden appreciates the library as a reading resource.

“I encourage anyone to take a book every once in a while if not for the enjoyment of reading then for the other benefits as well.” 

In the future, Powers dreams big with the library.

“I would hope at some point to look at a larger space to handle the growth in our collection and also hopefully the growth of people coming into the library.” 

“I just want everyone to take advantage of my services in that respect, and just come by and talk about books in particular,” Powers added.