On Tuesday, March 22, 2022, seven middle school librarians met virtually to discuss middle school library topics and see the new social emotional room at Burrillville Middle School. In attendance for the meeting were Stephanie Mills, Melanie Roy, Christina Ash, Jen Simoneau, Diane Lebrun, Lisa Girard and Jill Fernandes.
The social emotional room, funded through an OLIS ARPA grant, is a repurposed conference room with windows, located off the main library. It was established for the purpose of calming down students who are agitated, anxious, upset, or simply need to take quiet space somewhere. Diane Lebrun showed the room to the librarians and explained how sensory materials were added to the space with the help of the school psychologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist. There is a diffuser with natural oils, fidget toys, a rocking egg-shaped chair, bean bag seating, a CD player with meditations, along with a variety of other things deemed helpful in mindfulness practices.
The team put together a binder filled with activities ranging from mindfulness eating (with mints) to coloring pages designed to lessen stress in students. The sixth grade teachers took on the task of introducing the room to the students and leading them through the activities in order for them to understand the purpose of the room. Diane explained the process of logging into the room through a google form, and then setting a timer for ten minutes. At the end of the time, students log out of the room giving feedback on how they feel. The room has been open for about a month and there are a handful of students who use the room on a regular basis, with more starting to take advantage, as well.
The meeting was very productive, and we discussed the need to meet more often on various middle school topics. Some of the topics we plan to meet on are new ways to collaborate with teachers, genrefying our collections, and updating our collection and reconsideration policies. Our group is open to any middle school librarian who wants to virtually discuss these timely topics. Our next meeting will be April 26th at 8:30am. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a link to the meeting.