The MFS Library in 2019: Technology, Research, and the Joy of Exploration

By Shelby Deibler ’20, Marketing and Communications Intern

The Woodward Henry Diller Memorial Library at Moorestown Friends School is a great resource for students of all ages to learn something new. The library has thousands of books on the shelves and even more books and audiobooks available online for free through the platform OverDrive.

There are more than 50 online databases that are available without charge to MFS students to use as research tools. Additionally, the library provides free mobile and online subscriptions to media sources such as The New York Times, Vogue, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Burlington County Times.

Lower School Librarian Deborah Alterman said that “a recent analysis of our library catalog reveals we have about 45,500 records of items, but that includes print, audiovisual and digital items, which is more than just printed books.“

Head Librarian Jenn Phiambolis also emphasizes the importance of making books available online to students, as she explained that “many people love to read, but some are pressed for time or have other circumstances that make reading a hardback book more difficult.”

Even though there are plenty of ways students can access resources online, Ms. Phiambolis has made sure that the library remains full throughout the day by expanding its hours to allow more students access to the school’s resources. “A full library is a successful and happy library,” she says. Upper School and Middle School students are welcome to use the library space during study halls, lunch periods, and before and after school.

Similarly, Lower School students are given guided lessons and class periods within the library on a weekly rotation. The students are first introduced to a specific book or library concept, then they are allowed to check out a book to read during their reading time in class. After they pick out a book that suits their interests, the lower schoolers usually have time to read on the sofas and chairs with their friends. “The Library should be a place of collaboration and exploration,” said Ms. Phiambolis.

In the Middle School, incentives and prizes are given out to students who reach reading goals or win library contests. Some favorite contests among the middle schoolers are the Mini Golf course that is constructed out of books and the Edible Book Contest. They have the chance to win prizes like pizza parties, gift cards, and candy.

In addition to the tables and sofa areas available to students for reading and studying, there are now semi-private work spaces behind the bookshelves. Upper School student Parker Kimberly ’20 shared: “I love going to the library because it is a quiet place to work and there are so many tools to help with researching for a project.”

The library is also a place for creativity. Ms. Phiambolis creates seasonal displays out of books; for example, she made a Christmas tree and snowman entirely out of books for this past holiday season. There was also a “ReadBox” display filled with books that were later turned into movies. Griffin Elias ’20 said, “I really like the displays that are put up in the library; it adds a nice visual touch that we haven’t seen the library do before.” Ms. Phiambolis added that “having big displays that grab your attention sparks conversation.”

Even in the digital age of 2019, the library remains an important aspect of the MFS community. Ms. Phiambolis shared that she has plans for a “virtual book club for alumni, which will help keep our graduates connected no matter how far from Moorestown they venture.” Whether MFS students are near or far, the Woodward Henry Diller Memorial Library’s connections and resources stay with them forever.