Words Empower – Libraries as Avenues for Students to Publish

Today’s article comes to us from Rene deBerardinis, Director of Libraries at the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Thank you Rene, for sharing with us the exciting work your library and students are doing!

Blue Devils Publishing House, courtesy of Rene deBerardinis, Director of Libraries

Words empower. Authentic audiences engage. Publishing student work – to authentic audiences – can be motivational and aspirational for many students.  

To this end, our school library started its own publishing house named after our school mascot, the Blue Devil.  I like how our logo brings this popular mascot into other areas of our school life, not just sports.

Words can also connect!  I hope some fellow librarians will read this and want to collaborate on a book co-created by our students!  Please let me know and we can share ideas ~ the possibilities are endless!

Our inaugural publications, released just this Spring, included:

A picture book authored and illustrated by five 5th graders in our Social Entrepreneurship class – with proceeds going to fund microloans through Kiva.org. 

A collection of original poems, written and illustrated by our students in Kindergarten through grade five ~ every student has at least one poem published in “Poetry Rocks at SCH!”

A “Creative Writing and Visual Art” anthology with original work from our current 8th grade students, the Class of 2021.  All 8th grade families will receive a copy of this publication at our Moving Up Ceremony this June.

Students love seeing their work in print – and many consider themselves true writers and artists after viewing these publications.  This publishing project came to life after researching many different types of bookbinding equipment and supplies, looking for just the right combination of affordability, ease of use and professional-looking results.  I purchase this equipment in the Fall, worked with one of our high school art students to design a logo and began collaborating with teachers on potential publishing projects. Teachers were excited for the opportunity to highlight their students’ work to the community in such a professional format: custom, student-designed, hardcover, bound books.

We sold several of our publications at our school’s Spring Book Fair, and have set-up an online purchasing system.  We will be producing copies for our libraries, cataloging and barcoding them for students to borrow – making accessible the work of our published SCH Academy student authors!

Student Book Publishing, courtesy of Rene deBerardinis,

Please feel free to contact me (rdeberardinis@sch.org) for more information and/or to plan a collaborative publishing project! 

How are your libraries connecting students to creating their own publications? We would love to hear the amazing things that are being done, so please tell us about the creative endeavors your library is undertaking. Please share your comments via our FacebookTwitter or our LinkedIn pages.

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  1. How can I be apart of this International Librarians network?, Deo Wasswa Mulema, Head Librarian Heritage International School, Uganda East Africa and Volunteer Librarian at Jordan House Community Library.

  2. Dear Rene. What an awesome idea and platform to showcase students works. This will inspire other students to write and most especially read. Love this concept. Hats off to the team for putting this together.

  3. This is a great work.I like it. Rene could you share your contacts or email address. I work at the library of American University in Central Asia . Thank you

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