The Belkis Escribano Klau Memorial Elementary School Library is a truly special place where special things happen. The library was completely renovated in 2015 thanks to the generous support of the Klau family, who used the project to remember Belkis Escribano Klau, a Robinson wife, mother, and friend who passed away in 2014. Belkis, wife of David Klau ’82 and mother of Samuel Klau Escribano ’13 and Jaime Klau Escribano ’15, continues to make her mark on our community the library named in her honor. She was passionate about education, especially reading and culture. The library was designed to reflect this passion, which she demonstrated by volunteering countless hours of her time to Robinson — reading to students and discussing teaching strategies with faculty as she pursued her own goal of becoming a teacher.
Students never want to leave the Belkis Escribano Klau Memorial Elementary School Library! Of course, they don’t! Why would they? The library is a fun, dynamic learning environment designed to engage students and support Robinson’s IB learner profile and PYP program. Students learn to be risk-takers by exploring different genres (fiction and non-fiction), choosing books that challenge them, and using new technologies. As principled students, they commit to reading and learning by doing their best to finish books. Students use active inquiry skills they learn in the classroom to explore particular areas of interest, while remaining balanced by choosing from the variety of materials available and cultivating an open-mindedness toward different cultures and perspectives. Students become excellent communicators through reading. Communication is key to empowering students. These skills are further enhanced through technology. By integrating technology, students learn how to be effective communicators across many platforms. They learn to understand, retain, and share what they’ve learned with each other by talking about books face-to-face in a space designed to encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaboration, as well as reflection and independence. Technology works as a powerful tool for supporting IB global awareness and connecting students internationally. For example, elementary students begin to explore the world in a supervised environment through the Internet. The library cultivates a true love of reading and learning in our younger students. Here, students use their own curiosity and Robinson librarian, Patricia Vega, to develop their lifelong love of learning in an environment that empowers them. They are able to decide how they want to learn by choosing how they want to configure their learning environment. This freedom makes learning fun and puts students in charge of their own education.
Thanks to another generous donation from the Klau family, elementary students will enjoy an even more exciting and engaging library this year. An original stained-glass window in the Belkis Escribano Klau Reading Room, which houses the Collection of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Literature, will serenely illuminate the space and let students feel Belkis’ light and warmth. Bright cushions and beanbags will motivate students to create their own comfy learning spaces within the library, or they can read and reflect on one of the many colorful rugs designed to encourage reading and exploring different world cultures. They can also build their own mini mobile library by using the soft reading caterpillar set, which makes learning even more fun and student-driven. Finally, a Skype camera will now allow students to interact with authors and take virtual tours of museums around the world, which was previously an activity only Middle and Upper School students experienced.
We want to take this opportunity to show you what Robinson has achieved through such generous support and thank everyone whose vision, hard work and dedication made this amazing project a reality, especially Belkis Escribano Klau, her family, and her friends.