By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Westborough High School (WHS) Library has been awarded a $5,000 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Anita Celluci, WHS Library teacher, was successful in her application for these funds, which will help increase the library’s resources, and participation in projects focused on mental health and wellness.
The Westborough Public Library, according to Celluci, will contribute funds and work collaboratively on programs covered by the grant.
Celluci, who is president of the Massachusetts School Library Association, commented, “For me, it’s all about empowering students to utilize resources … not only academically, but for personal growth and awareness. It’s about creating community – empathy for each other – helping students realize that they have a voice and they have it within themselves to help each other.”
She said that the WHS library provides a safe space, as well as academic resources for students. It has 15,000 books, digital resources, comfortable chairs, a media lab, and a café (bring your own).
“We’re open before and after school, and we’re filled with students all day… It’s not always quiet,” Celluci added.
Calling herself a library teacher, instead of head librarian, Celluci is proud that the library has transformed into an active learning space during the six years of her tenure.
WHS faculty and staff have participated in a mindfulness class offered by Westborough Youth and Family Services (WYFS), and a yoga class taught by Laura Searles. Under the grant, yoga will be offered to WHS students next year. WYFS will also participate in a health survey, which is required by the grant to provide feedback.
“This book, which was our school’s summer read, has elements of mental health as well as a coming of age story about a military family,” Celluci said.
In April, the grant will fund author Laura Harrington, who will lead what she calls a “writing marathon” at WHS. She will train teachers on how to bring a sense of fun into the writing process, and create a safe space. Harrington will also speak to the entire student body.
The Westborough Public Library will host adult discussions on the book.
“Hopefully we’ll arrange multi-generational discussions,” commented Celluci.
While these resources will benefit the entire school, Celluci will work closely on a grant project with the 240 students in the freshman class, and about 50 seniors who make up two sections of the elective, Psychology and Literature.
The freshman will learn about digital and information literacy, and “Managing your digital footprint — good decisions and how to make a good impression online,” according to the grant application. In January, the freshman will create videos and GoAnimate comic strips that reflect what they have learned about mental health and wellness.
Seniors will gain understanding of “perspectives on copyright and creative works; digital footprint; college and adult life; … managing your digital footprint and digital literacy as a skill,” per the grant. They will create reflection videos, which will be watched by the freshman, who will report back their impressions to the seniors.
For more information about the LSTA grant, contact Celluci at [email protected].