“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Who doesn’t love the start of a new school year? The teachers’ supplies are out of the library and delivered-mostly! (The library is the staging area for orders placed over the summer.) The carpets have been cleaned. The new books (all ___ of them) are cataloged and ready for checking out. I have read over 80 books this summer and am eager to share the titles with my students. The first day of school is just so much more exciting than New Year’s Day.
So why am I dragging my feet? School starts September 3. I should be preparing seating charts, prepping materials for the first week, and adding finishing touches to the lesson plans. Instead, I just want to read one more book or maybe two. Perhaps I question how I will be able to share all the great new books with students. Maybe I am worried about finding time to connect with each student during the final 10-minutes of class checkout.
But, the library is about more than books-especially now-because of the Common Core. The library is the place to learn about information literacy skills. This absorbs most of my face-to-face time with students. The curriculum needs to be taught, and I enjoy- no, love- teaching these skills to students. It is so satisfying to have students generate questions and then help direct them to where they can find the answers. Students who are able to search, sift through, and find good information will grow into successful adults. But sometimes I just want to talk books! So maybe this year, I will set aside the curriculum that needs to be taught for a day (or three!) to just talk about books. Not to remind students about how important reading is (because they know that and probably hear it a lot), but to give them an opportunity to share what they like about books (the good, bad and ugly- because we don’t like every book we read, and that’s ok). But I don’t want just me to talk about the books, I want my students to talk, too.
That’s why this year I plan to take our book talking online. I am going to try Biblionasium with my fifth graders. Biblionasium is a protected social network site for kids ages 6-13; think of it as a Goodreads for the younger set. Students will be able to keep track of books they read, create lists of books to read, share reviews, and give and receive book recommendations. Here’s to hoping that this gives me another opportunity to share what is missing from the day to day library classes: sharing a love of books. And if it works, I will go bigger and add more grades this year!