During your first session with students at the beginning of the school year how do you begin? Do you have formal orientations? Do you begin with a storytime for younger students? Do you have centers and interactive orientations like scavenger hunts?
I wish I were the all-knowing librarian who has mastered and perfected beginnings, but, alas! I am just a library information practioner. Every year I have a new chance to try something different. One year I led students in rolling dice to determine if they would ask a question or tell a rule. One year I prepared a "No, No, Never, Never, Un-un-unh!" bag (felt like I was a cheerleader again). I have role-played rules. I have simply talked each class through the orientation. I have presented powerpoints with photographs of the volunteers, assistants, areas of the library, etc.
Last year I used a powerpoint from an LM_NET friend and let all 3rd and 4th graders click through the presentation to orient themselves. That was wildly popular and they came back to "play" it again. The teachers were amazed how much content the students were exposed to in a short amount of time.
I have seen the Library Jeopardy style sessions where students answer questions. If you search the archives of LM_NET, you will find many suggestions for beginnings incorporating story books like David Shannon’s No, David!
One year I gave written quizzes to older students. Everyone who scored a perfect 100 was eligible to be my first group of library assistants. Believe me that everyone worked much harder on all paper activities that year since "knowing library stuff" earned privileges.
Several years ago I was able to checkout to students the very first day of school. This made 2nd-4th grade teachers ecstatic. Due to difficulties getting data from the front office, I can’t always do that, but the GOOD PR that year made it worth every difficulty.
I would love to hear what you do…. Do you focus upon your own program? Do you solicit advise from students and teachers? Do you focus on sharing your rules, procedures, and expectations? Do you focus on building an exciting atmosphere of student ownership? Let’s talk.