Laurel School Home Page
Instructor: Ms. Bradley   
Laurel School Library
It's a new school year!


Welcome to the Laurel Library



Come visit our Reading Rainforest!  This year’s theme is the rainforest and inside the library, you will find colorful wild birds, lush green plants, butterflies, cheetahs, and even a ficus tree!  And over 11,000 books, wonderful books!

Laurel Library FAQs


Where is the library and who is the librarian?


The library is located between the main office and the plaza.  I, Gail Bradley, am the teacher-librarian.  I’m beginning my 6th year here at Laurel, which was preceded by 11 years as librarian at Encinal.  I am a fully credentialed teacher and fully credentialed teacher-librarian (the state’s official name for librarians), having completed my library and information science credential at San Jose State University.  Teaching, children’s books and libraries are my passions and I get to combine them all in the best job at Laurel!


How often does my child get to go to the library?


Your child’s class goes to the library once a week at the same time on the same day every week (which happily makes it easier to remember to return books on time).


What does my child do in the library?


Each week, your student will hear a story read aloud by me, then will have 10-15 minutes to look at books, check them out, and read.  Library lessons are taught as well.  Lessons are sequential in that they build on each other and each grade level learns something new.  Among other things, students learn about parts of a book, differences between fiction and nonfiction, how books are organized in the library, and how to search for books on the computer and on their own.  Kindergartners learn the basics—that a library is arranged alphabetically and by subject, and has fiction books, picture books, beginning reader books, and nonfiction books.  By the end of third grade, students are fairly familiar with the Dewey Decimal System and become quite skilled at finding books on their own.  The goal is to make students independent seekers (and finders) of information.  One of my favorite library quotes came from former First Lady Laura Bush (herself a school librarian):"Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers.  And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.” (June, 2002)


How many books may my child check out and may parents check out books?


Kindergartners check out one book per week, first and second graders two books per week, and third graders three books per week.  All books must be returned the following week.  Most books can be renewed, but must be brought in to be renewed.  If a student forgets any book at all, s/he may not check out any additional books until the overdue book(s) have been returned.


Parents are always welcome to check out books and there is no limit to the number that may be borrowed.


We encourage students to be responsible for their own books.  You, as parents, can help them by creating a special place at home just for Laurel library books (so they don’t get mixed up with “home” books or books from another library), or having your child keep the book(s) in his or her backpack at all times before and after reading them.  That said, if a child is unable to return a book due to circumstances beyond his/her control (Mom returned it to the public library by mistake, or it got left at Dad’s house last weekend, or it was left at Grandma’s house), please give me a call or email me and I will put a note on your child’s record that it is okay to check books out because I know you are looking for them.




What happens if my child loses a book, or damages it?


If your child loses a book, or the book is damaged beyond repair (water damage, markers obscuring text, severe rips, etc.), the book must be paid for.  Hardback books are $20 to replace and paperback books are $10 (cash, or checks made out to MPCSD and returned to the librarian).  The easiest way to avoid book damage is to keep books away from pets and younger siblings, and away from food and liquids.


Is the library open any time other than school hours?


I am hoping to be able to open the library to second and third grade students during lunch recess one or two times a week this year.  We will have a procedure for how many may be in the library at a time.  Students are also welcome to pop in to return or exchange books before school, AS LONG AS I AM IN THE LIBRARY WITH THEM (OR A PARENT IS WITH THEM).  School rules require students to be on the playground before school (that is where the supervision is), so students may not stay in the library for more time than it takes to return a book or quickly check out another one.  After school is not a great time to come to the library as I have yard duty in the arbor until 3:15 every day.  For safety’s sake, I lock the library while I am out in the arbor.


My child is a kindergartner, and I understand s/he will not be checking out books from the library until January.  What’s up with that?


It’s actually a wonderful thing!  Last year, the kindergarten teachers and I wrote and received a Jeanie Ritchie grant to get more books in the hands of kindergartners.  We’ve decided to continue that this year without grant help.  I will be choosing, from the library, a wide variety of age-appropriate, engaging, and interesting books for each kinder classroom.   I will provide two books per student.  Every afternoon, the kinders will take home two books to read at home.  Those books will be returned the next day (to the classroom), and two different books will go home that day.  The goal is to have every kindergartner be exposed to at least 150 books this year.


Your kindergartner will still come to the library each week to hear stories and to learn how to “do” library.  By January, they will be totally ready to check out their own library book each week (one per week).  Additional books from the classroom will continue to go home with them.


How often do you purchase new books and who pays for them?


I typically order books two to three times a year.  I solicit teacher requests as well as student and parent requests.  I scour reading reviews in School Library Journal and other sources. Almost all of our new book purchases are funded by the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF), which gives each library generous funds for the purchases.  The Laurel PTO also funds some of the new materials.  I am forever grateful to both of these outstanding organizations for their continued and  generous support.

Is there a way I can check the library catalog from home to see if a certain book is in?

Yes!  Go to and click on "Laurel Elementary School Library" then click on the "Catalog" tab.  Do not log in.  Please remember that even though the catalog says a book is in, finding it on the shelf may be a different story--it could be misplaced.  This doesn't happen often, but just be aware that it COULD!


May I volunteer in the library?


Yes!  Volunteers are always needed to shelve books (bring those reading glasses—the numbers are small!), help check books in and out, help repair books, and help keep the shelves in order.  The library is a place full of detail work, so if you like doing things that require precision and exactitude, sign up!  You also get the bonus of being able to leaf through the great books you’re shelving.  If you are interested in volunteering, please let our Library Volunteer Coordinator, Alice Hom, know (  We have volunteer trainings scheduled on September 4th and September 10th,  and training is required of all new volunteers.  Watch the PTO weekly newsletter for dates and times.


Is library time fun?


Oh my, yes!  There are so many wonderful children’s books to choose from that one can’t help but love them.  My goal is to instill in every child a love of reading, or at least an appreciation for good stories (if they can’t read yet).  I ‘m a big fan of humorous stories and I like to create a lighthearted and enthusiastic learning environment for all students.  Stop in and say hi when you’re in the library neighborhood!


Gail Bradley


Laurel School

650-324-0186 ext. 3830

“The love of learning, the sequesterd nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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