School Library Media Specialist
P.S. 18 Staten Island, NY
MLS, School Media, Syracuse University, 2008
Photo © 2014 Michael Pilla
A Flair for Funding
The way Ciro Scardina sees it, “teaching is a performing art.” Scardina taught fourth grade for eight years before becoming the school library media specialist at P.S. 18 on New York’s Staten Island. Scardina’s lessons involve high-tech tools, all of which are available thanks to his impressive fundraising track record.
Through grants, Scardina has outfitted the P.S. 18 library with 25 new iPads, a smart board, and more than 2,000 new books. Winning the Target READesign School Library Makeover even allowed Scardina’s students to dream up their own new features.
“I work with a population of children in pretty severe poverty,” says Scardina. In addition to exposing them to new technology, he says it’s important for the library to address students’ basic needs. To that end, Scardina partnered with Target, Heart of America, and Food Bank for New York to set up a monthly pop-up food pantry in the school gymnasium, where families can get free produce and other goods.
Next on Scardina’s wish list is the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant for Libraries to expand the library’s collection.
“I feel like I’ve given [my students] a chance to sink their teeth into literacy and become lifelong readers,” Scardina says. But nothing is more effective for getting kids excited about reading than a good book talk, and, he says, “that doesn’t cost anything.”