Library Program Mission

By providing an organized collection of resources and a comfortable place to read and study, the Sidwell Friends School Libraries form the foundation for the intellectual life of the school. Our goals are threefold: help students develop the research skills they need in our information-rich world through the libraries' instructional program; collaborate with teachers to support their curricular goals and research objectives; and promote a lifelong interest in reading with a robust selection of fiction and non-fiction titles that cater to diverse backgrounds, perspectives, interests and opinions.

Sidwell Friends Graduates as Readers

We know that a child will grow up to become a reader under two conditions: when s/he is read to every day from birth, and later, if once that child develops the skills to read, s/he reads every day thereafter. Habitually reading fiction, poetry, narrative non-fiction and biography opens the way to developing a deeper sense of empathy, a wider sense of justice, a broader base of knowledge, and a flexibility of mind— essentially, the conditions for happiness and success. This single activity consistently correlates with more imaginative thinking and higher academic achievement. The goal of the Library Program’s reading activities, which include book talks, book groups, author visits, author studies, reading lists, and class visits, is to graduate students who have become habitual, devoted, intelligent readers.

Sidwell Friends Graduates as Researchers

When a student graduates from Sidwell Friends, one of the main goals of the library program is that s/he leaves fully ready to take on the challenges of college level research. This means that the student will be capable of navigating his or her college library with confidence, finding and selecting appropriate resources from the college’s print collections and library databases, and citing sources accurately and ethically in his or her papers. The student will understand the difference between the types of sources that the library offers, including primary, secondary, and scholarly sources, and will select the appropriate types of sources for each assignment. In addition, the student will understand that if and when s/he encounters difficulties in finding sources, the best course of action is to consult a reference librarian. In short, the student will be capable of accessing the highest quality of information at his or her disposal and making educated, selective, and ethically sound judgments in regards to the use of that information.

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."

— Jorge Luis Borges