This article was originally published in the Almanac, vol. 61, No. 17, on 12/16/2014. It can be viewed here in its original form

The Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts (the Kislak Center) welcomed 60 fifth-grade students and their teachers, Sacha Marie Langley, Lindsey Coyne and Jill Morgan, from the Henry C. Lea School (the Lea School) in West Philadelphia on October 24. Students visited the Kislak Center as one of many enrichment opportunities offered as part of the University of Pennsylvania’s ongoing partnership with the Lea School to build a learning bridge between the School’s students and the University’s resources. In addition to offering enrichment activities for Lea School students in the Kislak Center, the Penn Libraries appointed Ancil George to serve as a Community Outreach Librarian to West Philadelphia public K-12 schools to increase library instruction and access to library resources (Almanac March 18, 2014).

“We are so proud to be working with Henry C. Lea School and other West Philadelphia schools to support their own under-resourced libraries, to foster a love of reading and to help young learners better understand the enduring value of libraries in general,” stated Carton Rogers, vice provost and director of the Penn Libraries.

Having so many Lea School students here at the Kislak Center was invigorating for my staff and, I hope, a fun and memorable learning activity for the students and their teachers.  The library is not only a place for quiet study, but a center for hands-on, active learning.”

As part of the day’s activities in the Kislak Center, students rotated through three activities centered around the theme of bookmaking.  Students participated in a treasure hunt based on two of the Kislak Center’s exhibits featuring prominent children’s book illustrators and editors, William Steig and Atha Tehon. Another activity took place in the Kislak Center’s Henry Charles Lea Library, where students viewed a portrait of Henry C. Lea, their schools’ namesake, learned about the making of medieval manuscripts and viewed some of the Kislak Center’s treasures. Students finished the day exploring book structure and design, viewed a variety of the children’s books, printed their own bookplate with an image from one of the Kislak Center’s early manuscripts and placed their bookplate in a blank book in which they were asked to write their own story. They also received copies of Henry C. Lea’s bookplate.

Reflecting on the day, Lea School teacher Lindsey Coyne shared, “Our visit to the Kislak Center was both informative and exciting for our students. The Penn Libraries’ staff graciously welcomed us into their facilities and provided students with a day filled with learning. We are all thankful for the hard work that went into planning our visit and look forward to building a relationship with the Penn Libraries.”

The Henry C. Lea Elementary School is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014. It is at the corner of 47th and Locust Streets.