August 2021

It’s August!

Spoiler Alert! Did you know that school begins on August 31st this year? I know, I’m kind of excited too! The summer seemed short to me but I’ve been working off and on, trying to get the library ready for all my wonderful, delightful, and well-rested friends. I know you’re all going to enjoy the summer right up until school begins but it’s almost time!

Let’s not forget about Middle School Summer Reading. You’re probably thinking, “Why are you bringing that up again, Mrs. Murphy? We get it, we have to read ��”. I bring this up because, well, it’s August and if you haven’t really begun your reading, it’s time to start. The reading requirements for all middle school students are listed below; as mentioned before, we have most of these books in our library.

This means that this is a good time to announce the school library summer hours. If you’re around and want to check out some books either from the MS summer reading lists or from our larger catalog, come to one of my open library times and you can get some good books to hold you over until school starts. You must be a returning St. Al’s student to check out books from our library.

St. Al’s Library Summer Hours:

Monday, August 9th – 10am to 2pm
Thursday, August 12th – 3pm to 6pm
Tuesday, August 17th – 3pm to 6pm
Thursday, August 19th – 10am to 2pm

I hope your summer has been AMAZING! I can’t wait to see you all later this month. Until then, keep reading good books!

Middle School Summer Reading:

June 2021

Thank you all for your tremendous support of our library, through your purchases at the Book Fair, by helping your students keep track of their library books, and by your donations to our collection. A few of you have asked if we will be holding summer library hours and the answer is yes, but in August only. I’ll announce those dates later this summer so keep an eye out for that information in the Angels’ Angle and on the library Instagram (stalphonsus_reads). Fortunately, the Seattle Public Libraries are opening up little by little so you should be able to access library books at one of their available locations during June and July.

For those of you with students in middle school, I am happy to say that we have at least one copy of each of the books from both the 5th/6th and 7th/8th grade summer reading lists. While I can’t check out those books to your student now, I’ll be happy to do so during summer library hours in August. You may find the middle school summer reading lists either on the Academics page or the Forms and Downloads page. 

I wish you all a happy and safe summer! Let’s keep reading and expanding our literary horizons safely and socially distant, if necessary. I can’t wait to see you all in the Fall!

May 2021

Summer is just around the corner and, even though school just recently returned to close-to-normal for us all, we’ll be sending your great kids back home soon! To that end, it’s time to find all those wonderful library books that the students have checked out this school year.

This week is the last week that any student is allowed to check out books from the St. Al’s library. They will continue to have access to the library and our book collection until the end of the school year.

8th grade students are supposed to return all library books by Friday, June 4th. If your 8th grade student still has books at home, please encourage him or her to return them immediately.

All other students must return their library books to the school library by June 8th. If your child’s class comes into the library on a different day next week, please make sure that they bring their books at that time. Each student is responsible for keeping track of and returning the books they borrowed from our library in the same condition as when they checked them out.

Some questions come up often so here are the FAQs of the St. Al’s Library:

Why do we need to return the books before the last day of school?
Every year I must run an inventory of our entire library collection. That means that I will need to scan every book that we have (over 9,000) to make sure it’s in the library, then I can determine which books are missing, which ones no longer need to be in our collection, and which ones are damaged beyond repair. This takes several days and needs to be started before the last day of school. Every book that is not in our library by the day I begin inventory will be marked as lost and removed from our collection. If I am missing popular or new books, then I will need to figure out a way to replace those books over the summer.

My child can’t find one of his library books. Do I need to replace it?
I do not require you to replace library books that your student misplaced, however, I really appreciate it when you do. I know that not every family is in a position to pay for a replacement book so I simply ask that you determine if you are willing and able to pay for the cost of a new book. I do prefer that your child lets me know that he or she lost the book so I can proceed with that information. Also, some books are very old or are duplicates and may not need to be replaced.

We found all of my child’s library books but one of them is not in great shape. What do I do with it? Do I need to replace it?
Please have your child return ALL library books in their possession, even the damaged one. While I’d like to say that every book that leaves our library is in perfect condition, that is not the case. We use book tape a LOT in our library. If I can salvage a book that has been damaged, I’ll do it and return it to our shelves. If not, then I’ll remove it from our collection and recycle it. If you’re willing and able to replace the book I’d be thrilled, but it’s not a requirement.

Is there any way to get a list of the books my child currently has checked out?
Absolutely! Send me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll send you a list as soon as I get a chance.

My child is sure that they turned in all their books, but you’re telling me that one is missing. What do we do about that?
If your child is certain they turned a book in that is still listed as checked out, they need to let me know. Sometimes books are scanned but the scanner does not capture the barcode correctly. Or, if your child returned the book to their classroom/homeroom collection bin, it may have not made it back to the library. My goal is not to stress your child because we can’t find the book they turned in; we’ll just keep looking for it. If it’s in the building, I’ll track it down eventually.

If we can get back most of our books in decent, usable condition then we’re that one step closer to a great school year for 2021-22! As always, thank you for supporting our library and encouraging your kids to keep reading. You can always contact me at [email protected] if you have questions.

April 2021

Guess what? I’ve got news…so much news. But, before we get to that let me say that I’m so happy to see all of your amazing kids IN THE LIBRARY! It is, literally, the best part of my week. We cleared out all the furniture on the East side of the library and I mapped out a grid of Xs six feet apart. Now the kids can come into the library for read alouds and to check out books! We’ve also extended library time to 45 minutes so the kids will have enough time to search for books in small, safely-distanced groups. The windows are open, the fans are blowing, and we are sailing into the final 2 months of school with full hearts and smiles under our masks.

Okay, now for the BIG news. The BOOK FAIR is coming back in May and it’s IN-PERSON! This news makes me super happy because there’s nothing quite like being able to pick up the books, read the covers, and seeing the excitement on the faces of the kids as they make their choices. This Book Fair will run from May 8th through May 15th and will be by appointment only. We’ll have appointments available on both Saturdays, as well as after school each day. I’m including the sign-up link below if you’d like to sign up today.

As usual, if you have any questions, please send me an email at [email protected]. In the meantime, let’s read great books!

Book Fair Appointment Sign Up

September 2020

A couple of things before I provide the same information that came out the Angels’ Angle today. First, we’re back in school!!! I really missed you guys and, while this online business is not ideal, I’m so happy that I’ll get to see your faces again. Whoohoooo! We are going to ROCK distance learning this year, I just know it!

Second, I’ve run a new list of available books from the library; you can find it HERE. Book checkout and returns begin on Tuesday, September 8th. We’ll be there from 2:30 to 4pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Now here’s the Angle info: 

Welcome back to school, my well-read friends! I hope you had a restful and safe summer, and read some fun and interesting books along the way. I enjoyed seeing some of you at my summer library hours, and I’m ready to spend some great time with you this school year doing read-alouds, talking books, and getting to know each other all over again.

Did you do one of my summer reading challenges? I scheduled the challenge to be finished by September 4th but, because that’s a holiday, I’m pushing back the date to Thursday, September 10th. Take a picture of your completed challenge board and email me a copy at [email protected]. Make sure your name is on the challenge board! If you completed the challenge, you will receive a prize the next time you pick up library books from the school.

Speaking of library books… I will be hosting library book pickups and returns starting next week. We are having some technical difficulties getting our library system online so we will continue to use the same system we used over the summer. You’ll find those instructions on the Library page on the St. Al’s website, I will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 4pm at the NW doors. And, I’m excited to announce that Ms. Gallagher and I will both be around on Tuesdays for “a book and a ball” checkouts for your library and PE needs! 

As soon as I can announce our online library, I’ll let you know. We excited that we’ll be able to offer you the opportunity to find and hold books from home soon; I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, let’s keep reading!

August 2020

How can it be August already? Or, maybe for some of us it’s more, thank goodness it’s finally August! In either case, that means my summer is almost over, although it has been somewhat of a working summer for me. But I think we can say that about most school staff across the country, can’t we?

Only 2 more summer library dates left! I will be at the school on August 12th and August 19th for those of you who would like to check out or return books – our regular hours are from 10am to 12pm and from 3pm to 5pm. Check out the catalog here – Library Catalog – and send me a list of what you’d like to read at [email protected]. Also, don’t forget about the middle school summer reading!

I’m super excited to announce that our library is going online by the end of this month! “What does this mean, Mrs. Murphy?”, you may ask. What it means is that, regardless if we are teaching in-person or virtually, all students will have the ability to search the library catalog, put books on hold, access online resources for research purposes, and more easily find related books based on author or theme. I’ll let you all know when we go live and how to access our newly-built virtual library!

I hope you’ve looked at our Summer Reading Challenge and have decided to give it a try. I do have prizes available for all who bring a completed challenge form to me the first week of school. If we are doing distance learning, I will accept a photo of the completed form in my Library Teams page. Don’t worry, I’ll speak to you all about it when school begins.

I miss you all and cannot wait until I see your faces next month! 

July 2020

Happy July, all! 

We’re sliding into the long summer days now and, unfortunately, many of us are not going very far from home this year. That just means more time for reading, am I right? Here’s your regular reminder that there are still several library access dates coming up (see June 2020 below) so be sure to stop by the school to check out some good books. Our library catalog will be updated this week and I’ve added a LOT of new books for the students’ reading enjoyment.

I’ll admit, this year has been challenging for me in a lot of ways but, let’s face it, I’m usually up for a good challenge sometimes. So that must mean it’s Summer Reading Challenge time!!!

This is super straightforward – just print the challenge pages for either primary or middle grades and have your student start reading (or continue reading, I hope). No access to a printer? Let me know and I’ll mail you a copy right away. And, if your 3rd or 4th grade student is tearing through the primary challenge it’s okay to take on the middle school bingo page instead. It’s supposed to be a challenge, it’s in the name! 

As always, let me know if you have questions: [email protected]

Summer Reading Challenge 2020 primary grades

Summer Reading Challenge 2020 middle school

June 2020

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying your first few weeks of summer and you’re all remaining safe and healthy as you adjust your schedules for the next few months.

I want to make sure your students have access to books this summer, especially with Seattle Public Libraries still closed. Let’s try to avoid the dreaded “summer slide”! To that end, I will host summer library hours so you may come by and check out books, at least until the public libraries open again or until school starts.

Summer library hours and dates: Summer library 2020

Here’s how this will work:

  1. Have your student take a look at the book list and decide which books he or she would like to check out: Library Catalog July 2020 (updated 7/8/2020). I will update this list as I add books to our catalog throughout the summer.
  2. Once you know which books your child wants to check out, email me at [email protected] with the following information: student name, name of the book, and book barcode (begins with T). This will help me pull books in advance. It’s okay if they don’t make a decision until you’re on your way or when you arrive.
  3. You will not be allowed into the school building yet, so we will have a check-out table at the NW doors during the hours we’re open. Come during our library hours to pick up books, figure out which books you want, or to drop off library books. Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing while you’re on school property.
  4. Only students enrolled for the school year 2020-21 are allowed to check out books. If your student has NOT yet returned their library books from 2019-20, please contact me right away.  
  5. Both 5/6 and 7/8 have required reading for the summer. I still have copies of each book (Soldier’s Heart for 7/8, and Bud, Not Buddy for 5/6) available to check out.
  6. The tentative schedule is above. I will put reminders/changes in the Angels’ Angle, on the parents’ Facebook page, and on the library Instagram page (@stalphonsus_reads).

I hope this is clear and easy to understand but it’s okay to contact me if you need further clarification, [email protected].

Let’s keep our summer Lit(erature)!

Melissa Rodriguez-Murphy (aka Mrs. Murphy)


Quick & Easy Guide to Library Call Numbers (specific to St. Al’s library)

000 to 999.9 – NonFiction books (exception is 741.5 which is usually a graphic novel and, therefore, in our Graphic Novel section). Go to Dewey Decimal classifications for more information on how the books are classified.

BR or E – These indicate that the books are in our picture book area and are intended for our youngest students.[/spoiler]

Fic – Fiction, including young chapter readers, plus books that have been separated out for middle school or 7/8 students only. These are sorted alphabetically by the author’s last name.

REF – Reference books, which I usually don’t check out to anyone but give me a good reason and we’ll discuss.