I have finally done it! I started a library club this winter. Maybe it was the cold weather that has kept students in or maybe it is me eager to get students helping in the library. Either way, it has begun. This library club is a grass roots movement for me. Olivia and Jadyn, fifth graders, wait in the hallway in the morning to go to homeroom, so I invited them in to shelve books for me. They were excited to help, so I had them keep coming. Then they started coming in during their recess times, not to shelve books but to gather Christmas books to put on display. Olivia and Jadyn also processed new books for me, stamping them with the library name, adding new stickers, and placing barcodes on the backs of the books. We gained another student, Lauren, doing this project. I then asked them if they would like to create their own display of books. Olivia chose ghost stories. Jadyn chose fairy tales. Lauren chose female detective stories. They worked on finding the books in Destiny, created their own posters in MS Word, then pulled the books and put them on display. The displays look awesome, too! I have had more students asking if they could help. It was time to get organized.
So, I have invited the Mock Newbery club students to create a larger library club. Of the thirteen students invited, all thirteen said they want to join! Granted, three of them were already helping in the library! I now needed to get organized! We will begin meeting on Tuesdays at the end of the day to discuss what activities will be done during the week. The students will then choose the times they would like to come in and work on their chosen activities: mooring, recess, or end of day. Students will shelve books, create book displays, create bulletin boards, help prep materials for book fair and reading activities, and whatever else I can think of that they would enjoy and help our library. I am so excited to be able to continue to work with the students now that the Mock Newbery club has ended. I am also eager to see how the club will evolve and grow as my student teach me what ideas they have for our library.
Gathering Christmas books
Christmas books on display
Ghost books on display by Olivia
Female detective stories by Lauren
Using Destiny to find books for their displays
Olivia, Lauren, and Jadyn prepping new books
The students at TJ Connor finished up their Mock Newbery club to coincide with the ALA Youth Media Awards. Students from all three schools (Hill Elementary in Brockport and Terry Taylor Elementary in Spencerport) voted for the best book from the five books we read: Crenshaw, Fish in a Tree, Fuzzy Mud, Like a River: A Civil War Novel, and Roller Girl. Thirty-one of the fifty-five votes went to Like a River: A Civil War Novel! Roller Girl received only one vote from our club though it earned a Newbery Honor Medal from ALA. I was very happy to see Fish In a Tree also won the Schneider Family Award.
Our students met the students from the other two schools, enjoyed games of Bingo and Hangman as well as cake and punch while waiting to hear which book won their Mock Newbery Award. As part of the “Big Reveal” we share with the students the winners of the Newbery and Schneider Awards so they knew the books they read earned prestigious awards. The cheers from the students when we announce the winner was just like the cheers at the ALA midwinter announcements. After the celebration, TJ Connor students chose one of the books we read to keep for their very own. They were very excited to get a new book, especially one that was a favorite of theirs.
This year’s club has come to an end, but I am already thinking of titles for next year’s club! The first one on my list to consider is Pax by Sarah Pennypacker.
While looking for a book in the nonfiction section of my local public library recently, I noticed that the spine labels were placed horizontally on the spine so the entire call number was visible. How did I not notice this on my many previous visits? This simple feature got me to thinking about the nonfiction section at my school library and, selfishly, how so unpleasant it is to shelve the nonfiction books because the spine labels are so hard to read. Many of the books are so thin that much of the call number is not even visible. So I decided to fix it! I spent about a week trying to print the call numbers horizontally but no matte what I tried, the labels just did not align. I finally figured out that by printing all new spine labels the same way as before and just placing them horizontally rather than vertically, I, too, could have a nonfiction section that was easier to shelve, and more importantly, easier to find books for students based on the call number. I have two awesome adult volunteers who have been helping me relabel all the nonfiction books- about 5,000 titles! We are halfway through the project, and so far the shelves are looking great! See what you think.