Community Collaborations ~ Hyannis Public Library (Spring 2012)

“We Just Have a School”

In the  article on Sturgis Athletics in this issue,  Steve Austin, Sturgis Girls Soccer Coach, tells a great story about a conversation he overheard  his players having with Nantucket players while they looked at Nantucket facilities: “No, we don’t have a swimming pool, um, well no, we don’t actually have a gym…Nope, no cafeteria, or auditorium. Oh….well we borrow fields to play on. We just have a school.”

Like many charter schools, Sturgis is located in a building not originally designed to be a school. Sturgis has managed to transform the former Myers Furniture Store into a thriving International Baccalaureate World School. Since Sturgis does not have facilities like playing fields, a cafeteria or auditorium, people sometimes wonder how we can make it work.   I think the Beatles sum it up quite well in their song: “Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.” Collaboration is fostered at Sturgis among students, faculty, parents and Cape Cod community organizations. We have collaborated with many organizations over the years and have worked out plans for sharing resources and using facilities throughout the community.

Our athletic program works with Hyannis Youth and Community Center, Cape Cod Community College gym and playing fields, and Cotuit Kettleers Lowell Park Baseball field for sports activities. For visual and performing arts events, we collaborate with Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cape Cod Cultural Center, Guyer Art Barn and Cape Cod Community College. To support the academic demands of the International Baccalaureate program, we work closely with Hyannis Public Library for access to research materials in the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) System.

To express our appreciation to these friends of Sturgis, we are launching Community Collaborations – a series of articles about local organizations that help support the activities of our school.  To kick off the series, we are featuring the great library collaboration between Hyannis Public Library and Sturgis Charter Public School Libraries.

Hyannis Public Library

Sturgis is extremely fortunate to be located only two doors away from Hyannis Public Library (HPL).  “Over the years, the Hyannis Public Library has served the community…from Presidents and Senators to fishermen and children. It is hoped that those who hold dear tradition, history, Cape Cod atmosphere and life will continue to invest in our future…In 1865, Hyannis Public Library was officially established and it has had various homes before moving permanently in 1908 to Main Street, Hyannis to a classic Cape Cod house with lovely grounds, purchased for only $2,500 from the famed James Otis of Hyannis Port…A brief history of the library would not be complete without mentioning Ora Adams Hinckley, a school teacher, who became the first full time librarian in 1909 and served until 1943. Mrs. Hinckley was a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins and also President John Adams. Her husband, S. Alexander Hinckley, a musician, railroader, and a soldier in the War Between the States, was a native Cape Codder.” (An excerpt from Hyannis Public Library: Yesterday.)

Today, Hyannis Public Library serves the needs of a very diverse community including tourists, young families, businesses, Sturgis students, immigrants and the homeless. In 2011, HPL had 79,000 visitors.

The mission of the Hyannis Public Library is to:

  • be a place for the free expression of any idea.
  • protect and preserve spoken and printed word regardless of their medium
  • be a comprehensive source of knowledge regardless of the manner, method, or means by which it is conveyed.
  • preserve and perpetuate literacy
  • preserve and protect all forms of human expression and communication.

Hyannis Public Library provides materials and services to help residents of the Town of Barnstable, village of Hyannis, and surrounding communities receive information for their personal, educational, and professional needs. The Hyannis Public Library serves as a learning and educational resource for all area residents. Community members served in the Hyannis Library include the children, young adults, seniors, families, library users, library non-users, students, independent learners, ethnic groups, and the institutionalized and home-bound. Library needs of the community addressed include recreational, leisure, informational, educational, and social.

Carol Anne Deluca Reflects on HPL’s Relationship With Sturgis

I am a big fan of Sturgis Charter Public School, and as you know, if I won the big, big lottery I would try to make most of Main Street, Hyannis the whole campus for the school.

The school library and staff have made a deep, positive impression upon me:  when Pam Olson and Marion Weeks began to work with us here at the Hyannis Library, I knew that something very different and good was occurring — the organization, the dedication, and the drive they showed made me want to be better.  The students and the staff as a group are tremendous and a great help to the Hyannis Library as we work to remain a part of the village.  So many books circulate through here on a daily basis and the subject matter is always fascinating.  I especially enjoy the materials used in preparation for IB classes and feel that my own learning continues.  I not only empty the book return drop after items come back from both Sturgis East and Sturgis West, but I look closely at the items, and sometimes take them home, too.  Real learning is going on down the street!

The school, for me, makes Main Street, Hyannis, a living community.  I love seeing the students walking around and only hope that Main Street can someday become as good an influence as they are now.

Finally, the fantastic talent for poetry shown by Sturgis staff and  students has inspired me more and more to try to write.  Reading has always been easy, writing so much more difficult.  I now try to have fun with it and do not expect to ever quit my day job.  Here is one for the school.


The sudden surge in HPL’s circulation must be caused by registration
increase from the Sturgis Charter Public School’s population.
Librarians, students, teachers: all offer influence that features choice
for stronger education.

Youth, by hunger, into Main Street urged.
The feel of desolation purged from this small village.
Let them now enter and spring over never-lasting empty shops of furniture.
Librarians, students, teachers: all leave their varied memorable signatures.

If all were as I dream and make up,
This school would all of Main Street take up.

Pamela Olson Describes the Beginning of a Great Collaboration

Pamela Olson
First Sturgis Librarian

I remember going to an HPL Board meeting a very long time ago, probably during the time the application was submitted and before the first visit from the IB.  I explained how we would like to work with them and they were open to the idea. I also remember meeting with Carol Saunders to talk about research materials available at HPL.

In the beginning, several Sturgis faculty members tried taking classes to HPL but that was not the best fit. Instead I worked with faculty on the idea of bringing over materials from HPL to use in Sturgis classrooms.  The practice of  ordering materials through CLAMS began developing as I worked with various faculty members.  One of the first times I gathered a cart of materials was for a Senior English class taught by Gretchen Buntschuh, probably in the spring of 2002.

Of course, as more faculty members worked with me and later with Marion Weeks,  research projects started to  become more a part of the curriculum and things took off. The staff at HPL were very accommodating of the “stacks” of materials we ordered. They seemed interested both in the projects and the variety of materials. We were even offered additional CLAMS cards so we could accommodate the need for materials as more classes and different projects emerged. Sometimes we had several carts for different classes and projects going at the same time.For example, we would borrow 100 items each year for Group Four, the senior marine estuary research project.

It seems that the collaboration has been helpful for both HPL and Sturgis. Hyannis librarians support Sturgis Poetry Coffeehouse, an annual fund raiser for Cape Cod literacy programs. Sturgis students volunteer at HPL. As librarians, I remember we were always very “protective” of the materials we borrowed so that we could return all of them in a timely fashion and not lose any in the process. I believe we were successful and earned respect from HPL.

Sailing the Sea of Information

Kelly Depin Visits HPL

By Kate Dunigan-AtLee and Diane Klaiber, Librarians – Sturgis East and Kelly Depin, Librarian – Sturgis West

On any given weekday morning, if you’re driving down Main St. in Hyannis, you may see a woman walking down the street, her arms overloaded with books and a laden book cart in tow.  She will be smiling, enjoying a brief walk on the well-worn path between the front doors of Sturgis and Hyannis Public Library.  She is a Sturgis librarian.

While our Sturgis libraries are quite small, we provide our students and teachers with access to resources across the Cape, Islands, and throughout Massachusetts through our partnership with the public library system.  The librarians and staff at Hyannis Public Library make this possible for us through their willingness to both lend us their materials and act as a hub for the materials that come to us from other libraries.

Each year during freshmen library orientation we talk about how special our libraries are, in spite of their small physical size, because the resources we make available to them are so much greater than what we own.  We encourage students to get a public library card if they do not already have one and facilitate the process for them.  We also encourage faculty to apply for a teacher’s library card which allows them special borrowing privileges.

Diane Klaiber and Kate Dunigan-AtLee Visit HPL

If a class is working on a long-term project, we will often borrow materials to allow our students immediate in-school access to a range of resources that would not be practical for our library to own.  Recently, at East, the IB Theatre class has begun working on their Internal Assessment projects. Mrs. Botsford’s (see photo) students selected a particular genre in theatre and then had to find a play from that genre to analyze.  Resources we requested for these projects came in, via Hyannis Public Library, from UMASS Boston, Woods Hole, Cape Cod Community College, Martha’s Vineyard, and Newton.

At West, sophomores have been busy learning the intricacies of American economic and foreign policies between the two World Wars.  Research skills using books can be very different from those needed to navigate Google and Wikipedia and we want to expose students to a wide range of research materials.  Through materials from libraries across the Cape and Islands, students have been exploring primary versus secondary sources.

Beginning their Junior year and continuing into their Senior year, Diploma candidates write a 4,000 word paper called the Extended Essay.  For this project we expect students to perform college-level research and the topics they choose to explore are incredibly diverse.  Students research and write on wide-ranging topics from reversing deforestation in Haiti to water contamination linked to breast cancer rates on Cape Cod; from choral compositional techniques to bipolar disorder in adolescents.  The librarians in our public libraries are able to seek out specialized collections and out-of-network resources during the summer when we, as school librarians, are not available.

These are just a few examples of research projects that have required the help of librarians around the Cape.  During this school year we have borrowed materials on the Holocaust, World War II, Shakespeare, local flora and fauna, the New Deal, Huckleberry Finn, biotechnology, the Cold War, and much more.  Over five hundred books and videos have crossed the Hyannis circulation desk this year on their way to Sturgis!  We could not support our students’ research without our public library partnerships.

We are grateful for these partnerships and the dedication of our public librarian colleagues, especially at Hyannis Public Library.  Our collections at East and West are small but the sea of information open to our students is deep and wide.


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