The best part of the school

9:30 am: small group of "new to Swift Creek" 5th grade students comes for orientation.

Me: Where did you go to school? How many books could you check out? What's your favorite type of book to read? Let me show you around the library. You know the "usual"~ as well as the "Welcome to Swift Creek Library! This is the best part of the school. "

I got the general answers of where they went, what they liked to read- but then was shocked with the number of books they could check out "only one" or "two at most".  (4th and 5th graders start with 5)

My heart sank.

  • I mean, I know we all have limited budgets.  
  • I know we all have limited collections. 
  • I know we all have procedures. But what do our procedures say about our values?  
  • How can a book being on the shelf be discovered? 
  • How can a student easily identify likes/dislikes if they only have 1 or 2 books? (My theory is they'll only try known safe things)
  • How can a student feel free to abandon one and readily try another one if they don't have another one? 
  • How can one student see what their neighbor is reading and then come check it out next if there aren't materials out there? 
I also told them my 2 other requirements: 
  • Only one book per series at a time (I want them to try different things)
  • You must check out an everybody book. (Helps those who need to stay in that range have an excuse, and opens up conversations with parents when they ask me why their child should read an everybody book when their level is X)

Today: I got to work with about 35 students 1-1 to find books, and help them try new series. I helped 2 whole class groups- not quite as intensely- and watched another 25-30 come in and out on their time, browsing on their schedule. All in 3.5 hours before early release.

New student on the way out: "This is the best part of the school." Day made.


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